Written by Erin Pearson
Football season has started, the flags are out and the helmets are lifted once more to their pedestal just like every fall. In our house, you can hear Sports Center starting at 9 am on a Saturday as well as a compiled CD of school fight songs played by fantastically talented marching bands of universities from around the country. In our house, my 6 year old sons know Coach Pellini just as well as they know the President. Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez are easy for the boys to recognize by their numbered jerseys. The crowd cheers when the passes connect and the touchdown is achieved, and the boys watch in awe as the balloons are released. I love to see their love poured out, their joy unabashedly streaking their faces.
The players are in the limelight, Taylor’s schooling, Rex’s injury, Abdullah’s coming of age; they’re like our children growing up before us. And yet, they have one commonality between them, one image that stays in the background who helps them to build themselves up to the men they will become, to instill the values we all feel Nebraska still stands for. He leads them out onto the field, he is there for every step of the battle, and follows them all off when the fighting is through.
We all dream of having a boss like that, a coach like that or a mentor like that.
But don’t we?
Who but God is our biggest fan, who knows what we need most, exactly when we need it? Who but God leads us into battle with our fiercest enemy every day, stays on the field with us through each hit and drop of blood, and who follows us home, in triumph or defeat, to patch our wounds, to stay our hands and to fill us with hope again? How I wish I could help my boys to identify God, point him out to the kids so they can interpret in their minds who and what this “God ” is that I keep talking about. If he could show up with a jersey number, so they could scan the crowd and see Him, how much easier it would be for me to explain and for them to believe?
Instead I have to remind them that God created everything, that his touch is everywhere and that he can see everything. I answer their questions “Where is He? Why can’t I see Him? I’m tired of not seeing Him!” as best as I know how, but I can’t tell them that sometimes I have a hard time finding him too. Just when I think that his image has escaped me, that I can’t remember the sound of his voice or the touch of his hand, I can hear a voice in the back of my head telling me just these things that I told my own child recently. “Be brave, I know you’re tired.”
So what I found this week was a solace in the fact that I am not the only struggling heart, but I can find inspiration by consoling another. While I may not always feel that I am brave, I have a brave faith.