Connections – who ya gonna call? (Early morning phonecalls - #5)
Getting ready to meet the day, I turned on the radio, and caught an interview that was quite moving. Jim Rome was interviewing an athlete, pressing in, as he does toward the heart—of the man, of the matter. “You’ve got an amazing story, but before we get to that, you recently had an accident on your moped, when you were knocked by a car on your way to class … in the moments after the accident, you wanted to call someone to tell them what had happened, but you realized you didn’t have anyone to call. Why is that, and how did that feel?”
“I grew up in the foster care system, and I signed myself out of the system. When I first got into the hospital, the team chaplain asked me if I had anyone to contact, and I told him no, I didn’t. He gave me a Bible and told me now I do have someone to call which is Jesus and himself. I feel like Louisville as a whole—the people, the team, the fans, now I have coaches I can call … I am thankful. I pray every day. I don’t take life for granted,” defensive end for Louisville Cardinals, Lorenzo Mauldin shared.1
Lorenzo explained why he had no one to call; he had been in and out of 16 foster homes, and eventually, just took himself out of the system. But the realization he had no one to call was a sad, sobering and lonely moment. As I listened, it really gripped my heart.
In the past week, I have been writing about the horrific loss of a fine young man, Nick Pasquale, the trials of terminal cancer and generally coming to terms with the pain of loss . . . how God does not cause death or cancer or loss or trials, but he does share in our pain. Not a tear falls from your cheek that he does not see—no, he catches every one of your tears in a bottle.2
And Jesus? Well Jesus knows all about pain, suffering, death and loss, and so he is big enough to hold our pain. In Right Connections3, I shared Jesus’ words to all who are in relationship with him, Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid.4
For Lorenzo Mauldin, his team chaplain came along to introduce him to Jesus Christ … and to community as a Christian. (Turns out that his chaplain is a wonderful godly man, Chris Morgan, who leads Fellowship of Christian Athletes on the Louisville campus!)5
So, if you got knocked off your moped (motorbike), landed in the hospital, or worse—do you have folks who would ‘be there’ for you? Friends are good, sometimes great! But friends who point you to true peace, and connect you with hope and faith in God are invaluable. Christian friends who will come and stand alongside, offering encouragement, love and ceaseless prayers are priceless. Indeed they are the reason I believe so strongly in being part of a smallish Christian community—a place where everyone knows your name.
Community defined: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, or goals … like Jesus. You know, when you’re an active part of a community, you feel alive and vital. You receive encouragement, and you also know what it is to encourage others. It is in both the giving and receiving of encouragement that we truly participate in the Christian life. We matter, and we know it. It is how Christianity is supposed to work.
Think about it. Are you a vital part of some kind of Christian community? If not, ask God to lead you, actively seek one out, and make it part of your life … commit, learn, love and grow, Christian. Plus, you’ll know who to call when life knocks you down!
1 – The interview - http://jimrome.com/2013/09/11/lorenzo-mauldin/
2 – Psalm 56.8
3 – Right Connections – http://pastorwoman.com/ReadArchive.aspx?id=1239
4 – John 14.27
5 – The FCA I lead at San Clemente High School kicks off this week with all of the student leaders and club rush … followed by our first huddle next week. Pray for us, won’t you?