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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Faith in America

"Hope is not in our government, the stock market or employment. Our hope is in Him alone." We listened raptly as Brent Jones, former San Francisco 49er tight-end great, shared with a large audience at our National Day of Prayer.

"People have often asked me, ‘Were you ever afraid of anybody? To cross the middle (in the defensive territory) and get hit?'" Brent, standing tall and confident in a suit and tie, chuckled, "No, I was more greedy for catches than consciousness!" The audience laughed.

"Even after winning two Superbowls, there was only one time I was afraid. Both we and the New York Giants were undefeated for a Monday Night Football at Candlestick Park, December 1990. A small group of us guys had talked for two weeks. We were going to do something no one had done before. At the time it was outrageous," Brent remembered.

"Monday night came and guys started wavering. Late in the 4th quarter, doubts assailed; Should we really do this? What about the owners, the coaches? What will the leagues think of us?" we all thought. "One to two minutes were left. We hung on to a 7-6 victory. After the game, I scanned the other players. A few of us eyed each other. We signaled the 50-yard line. Slowly we started walking forward, past the 50-yard line, past the 30-yard line. Then, our small group stopped and stared. One by one, each of us planted one knee on the ground. Two guys in NY Giant uniforms ran over and grabbed our hands kneeling beside us."

"Joy pulsed through our core. The bleachers still roared," he said. "Two opponents in professional sports knelt and prayed together after a football game. It had never been done before. Up to that time, if coaches saw us talking, eating anything with the other team - it was death. From then on, it spread like wildfire. Other pro teams, colleges, high schools all began to openly share their faith."

"We strove to acknowledge God to the world that day - to show those watching us that there was something more important than our lives; that life had more value than a football game. We wanted to give an example that we truly are one nation under God," he proclaimed unashamedly.

I love what Brent shared. More than ever, we need each others' support in the gamefield of life. His message reverberates the truth: if we are winners right now, we can reach out to others who are losing. In our case, their possessions, their jobs, their homes. We can acknowledge everything we have is from God and we must not forget all His benefits. (Psalm 103:2).

Most of all, I love his honesty. There is fear in boldly sharing our faith; in proclaiming unashamed we serve a living God who overlooks the bad times and the good. We want to share the peace of Christ every way we can and our faith in a great God who grants hope for all our tomorrows. A heavenly hope that is not limited to the brown earth we walk and wrestle upon. But one that frees the soul to fly with faith like a bird soaring on the wind in skies that surround us daily.

Just as these Christian athletes sparked a national response of faith, we pray we can spark a deeper relationship of trust in God to those around us.

"In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)

"But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me." 2 Timothy 1:12 (ESV)

Copyright © Dee Aspin, used with permission.

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