Saturday, March 8, 2014

Making Friends with Soccer

Have you every had a difficult time making new friends? Maybe you have moved to a different city, changed schools, or just still struggle to be accepted by those around you? Have you ever asked God to help you? Well I did last week and God answered in a specific and special way! I have been living overseas in Bangkok, Thailand for 6 months now. Most of the time it is difficult to get into the lives of the native people here, especially since I can’t speak their language well yet. I was recently invited to play soccer at a complex near my house. I was really hesitant at first because it has been 7 years since I have actually played in a real game, but I went. The first week went ok and I survived, but I didn’t have the chance to really connect with anyone. 

So the next week I returned to the soccer fields and I prayed to God for Him to help me get connected to these guys on the team. I wanted to be the guy who contributed to the game in a way that would make them notice me and open up to me. As I walked onto the field to start the game I prayed this, “Lord help me make a goal.” I didn’t know if He would, or if that was the right thing to pray, or if I was truly focused on His glory more than my own. But, that is what I prayed. The game went on for about 5 minutes and then the other team scored. So it was our turn to start with the ball in the middle of the field. The guy who invited me passed me the ball and I took a few steps forward with it. I looked up and saw no one directly in front of me and the goal, so I just took the shot as hard as I could from half field. The ball beamed across the field and fit just between the pole and the goalie’s outstretched hands! Everyone, including myself, couldn’t believe that I just made that shot!

After the game some of the players told me my shot was beautiful, and some of the other guys used the word “fluke” to describe it. If I could speak the language well enough I would have told them there was no luck in my shot, but God answered my prayer. This is why: Thailand is 95% Buddhist and they have strong beliefs about karma and luck, and often their lives are governed around this superstition. Another statistic you should know is that 99.5% of the people living in Thailand are not Christian. In this country the vast majority of people don’t know the God I prayed to. In His providence I scored that goal. Looking back at it I think making that shot was more for me to see and believe how God hears and answers our prayers. God can connect me and you to anyone that He wills so that we can share the good news of His Son. There is no such thing as luck when the sovereign King of the universe rules over every atom of this earth. You and I should find great peace and hope in that He is in control of all things for our good and His glory. 

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