Sometimes You Gotta Play Hurt

When I was a kid, I fell off a roof, landed on my back, and couldn't catch my breath for what seemed like an eternity. This week, I experienced the same feeling because something happened that wounded me deeply. I hurt so bad that I couldn't sleep more than an hour that night. All I could do was to pray and ask God to guard my heart from becoming angry, bitter, or resentful at the person involved, or even at God Himself! It was very difficult. In the meantime, I had to work and function in daily life. Today, I have caught a breath of fresh air and am doing much better- but only because of God's mercy and grace.

Has that ever happened to you? You get hurt very deeply, but have responsibilities to meet and realize that life goes on with or without you. Please don't misunderstand what I'm about to say and reserve judgment until I'm finished. Sometimes, I think we dwell on our hurt and suffering a little too much, especially in the church. Too many times, we get hurt, withdraw, and lick our wounds. That's okay and necessary. But we must not let our wounds pull us away from life and allow ourselves to become inactive. Of course, this doesn't mean that we become busy for the sake of busy-ness as a coping mechanism to deny our pain. There is a balance.

Let me illustrate what I mean. I read a story about a quarterback in the NFL who gave a dazzling performance in a key game. After the game, he was interviewed and it was discovered that he had broken in his collarbone earlier in the game. The reporter asked him how he did it. The quarterback answered, "Well, sometimes you gotta play hurt."

Too often, I think, we allow the hurts, wounds, and suffering in life put us on the sidelines for much too long. And I think all the demons in hell rejoice when that happens. Then we cannot touch hearts with the lessons we learn in the school of suffering; lessons we learn that we can learn in no other place.

Have you been hurt? Don't drop out and sit on the sidelines. Now is a time when you may play like never before.