Everyone that knows me knows I’m a huge sports fan. Among those is football. I love playing football and I love watching football. This weekend was the induction ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And I was sitting in a hotel room in Arkansas and happened to turn the TV on and caught the majority of the event. And at one point I tweeted that it felt like there was a church service going in in Canton given some of the speeches.
The one that really resonated with me with Brian Dawkins. Dawkins was a defensive back who played mainly for the Philadelphia Eagles (also some time with the Denver Broncos). His speech got into not just his career but more importantly his faith in Christ as well as the pain and struggles that he dealt with including dealing with depression.
What really stuck with me was when he said the following:
“See there’s a purpose for my pain. There’s a purpose for my pain.”
Those words stuck with me. They stuck with me when I immediately heard it. And they have stuck with me these several days later. These last five years or so I’ve dealt with pain. Emotional pain, mental pain, spiritual pain. It has been a season of my life that has been a tremendous struggle. There have been more rough days than calm days in these last five years or so.
And so when I heard Dawkins’ speech and he was mentioning those words, they resonated with me. I need to be reminded that there is a purpose for it. I may not fully understand the reason for this pain, ultimately the purpose is for me to get closer to Jesus and to point people to Him. If there’s anyone that knows purpose in pain, it’s Jesus.
If you have not seen his speech, take some time and watch. It is worth it:
This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features another quote from author Pete Wilson:
“When you’re hurt or doubting, there’s nothing more comforting than hearing someone say, ‘I know what you’re going through.’ When you’re questioning and crying, there’s nothing that helps more than being told, ‘I’m in it with you.'” (Pete Wilson Plan B)
“For the Lord
will not reject us forever.
Even if He causes suffering,
He will show compassion
according to His abundant, faithful love.
For He does not enjoy bringing affliction
or suffering on mankind.” (Lamentations 3:31-33)
The book of Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah. If there was someone who understood lamenting, it was Jeremiah. He was a prophet who was charged with speaking God’s truth to the people. But the people would not listen. And because they would not listen and repent, judgement came and the people suffered including Jeremiah.
Even throughout the book of Lamentations where there is lamenting and grief throughout, there is also hope. These verses are a part of that hope. Jeremiah reminds the people that God does have abundant, faithful love for his people. He does want to bring His people back from suffering and pain. He “will not reject us forever”.
Sometimes when we are going through painful times and we are in that valley of suffering, we feel that it never ends. Months or even years may pass and the suffering we feel never ends. But these verses remind us that even though it seems never ending, it is not. God will bring it to end. He loves us and though we may deal with suffering, we have hope because of Jesus Christ. We are not rejected forever because we have been accepted through Christ’s work on the cross. We may still endure pain and suffering on this Earth but it will not last forever.
This week, as we may going through our own pains and sufferings, let us rest in the hope that it will not last forever. That the steadfast love of God endures and He will deliver us.
I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and it did not disappoint. There were a lot of great moments in the film and it reminded me why I loved the first one. It has joy and heart and humor and when it’s serious it connects. And at the heart of it is hope.
There are a lot of things that could be talked about in this film but there was one point that really resonated with me once I left the theater. (Minor spoilers but nothing major)
One of the underlying plot points in the film carries over from the first film. This is the rivalry/fight between Gamora & Nebula. In the first Guardians, Gamora had the chance to kill Nebula and didn’t. In this film, Nebula returns at the beginning. She is first captured by the Guardians and then later escapes. Later she finds Gamora with the expressed intent of “besting her”. She comes in guns ablazing (literally) in a spaceship and crashes with Gamora having to save her again.
Later on, Nebula expresses all the rage and anger she had to Gamora was because Thanos would “repair” Nebula with cybernetics when she lost to Gamora and that’s why she hated Gamora. Nebula raged because deep down she didn’t want to win. She wanted a sister. And so that pain built up inside Nebula and made her what she became in the 1st Guardians film and bled into this one. And Gamora realizes that and tells Nebula that she was just trying to survive. She didn’t mean to hurt Nebula. And there’s a great scene where Gamora hugs Nebula and at first Nebula is stiff but finally she returns the hug.
Nebula still carries the pain of her past. And at the end of the film, she doesn’t let it go just yet as she jets off to go after Thanos. And Gamora lets her know that she’s welcome with them because she is family.
We all carry pain of some kind. We are all hurt by people. Sometimes the pain is unintentional and sometimes unfortunately it’s very intentional. However we are hurt, we each carry that hurt with us. Sometimes that pain can be used for good. We see how we are hurt and we care for others so that they do not feel that kind of pain. Peter Quill throughout the films carries the pain of seeing his mom die and fights for others. Nebula rages with anger at the pain she carries and while she is not the same as she was at the beginning of the first film, she still is consumed by the pain and the anger that comes from it.
Like I said earlier, what I love about this series is that at the heart of the films is hope. Hope for change. Even if one carries such deep pain, there is hope for change. I am very much looking forward to Vol. 3 and seeing how the character of Nebula is carrying her pain. Because it reminds me of the pain that I carry and how I can’t let it carry me.
I have mentioned before on here how much I’m a fan of the comic book character “The Flash”. I feel like in a lot of ways I can relate to Barry Allen. So of course I was excited to see the return of the series. And along with the return gives a lot of entertainment as well as a lot to think about and ponder.
At the end of last season, Barry went back in time to try and fix a problem. That problem was one that had defined him. That problem was the death of Barry’s mother by Reverse Flash. Barry goes back and stops Reverse Flash and prevents the death of his mother. The season premiere of this season showed the effects of this “Flashpoint” which changed the timeline of what happened not only for Barry but for everyone else. When things began to spiral out of control, Barry goes back and allows Reverse Flash to kill his mother.
Last night’s episode showed the effects of what happened when Barry “fixed” the timeline. Relationships were damaged between family and friends. New enemies began to appear in Central City. So Barry decides to go back again and try and fix it. However before he got too far, he was stopped by Jay Garrick (Earth 2 Flash), who knocked him out of the Speed Force and into 1998 (which wasn’t a bad year to be honest).
Jay and Barry then sit in a diner and have a conversation. During that conversation, Jay tries to share with Barry about how trying to “fix” the timeline doesn’t work. He uses the example of a coffee cup and how it can be broken. Once it’s broken, even if you try and put it back together again, it still has the cracks and isn’t the cup it once was. The same for the timeline. The more one goes back to try and “fix” things, the more it breaks. Jay then tells Barry that he has to accept what has happened and move forward.
I know for myself that there are those certain moments in my life that I wish I could go back and change or “fix”. Painful times that I wish didn’t happen or good things that I wish had lasted. But I cannot go back in time and change things. All I can do is move forward. That’s all that all of us can do. We have to persevere and move forward. We have to trust God that what hurt and pains that we’ve experienced are not the be all end all of our lives. That we are not defined by those moments only. But that we are defined by Him.
It is not easy to move forward sometimes, even for a speedster like Barry Allen. But it is possible. It is a daily struggle but it is possible.