If you are like me and a fan of Monday Night Football, then you watched in horrified disbelief as 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the turf in cardiac arrest after being struck in the chest by another player’s helmet.
The game against the Cincinnati Bengals halted abruptly as medical personnel frantically tried to restart Hamlin’s heart as he lay on the field surrounded by weeping players taking a knee. The horror show played out live on TV before millions of sports fans. Immediately following his transport to the hospital, Hamlin remained sedated and hospitalized in intensive care while those who loved him prayed.
Days later, the media reported that the young football player is awake and holding hands with relatives. It is a joyful miracle and a somber reminder to all of us of the fragility of life and the need to always place our trust in God.
All too often, our day-to-day lives are frantic with minutiae as we scurry from task to task without ever considering how quickly it could all change or be lost. We obsess over slights from neighbors, disagreements with friends and squandered opportunities at work without ever really considering the big picture and what really counts.
Sometimes God intervenes. Sports fans got an otherworldly message when God tapped us on the shoulder to remind every one of us that faith still matters. We witnessed football players on the field bowing their heads in prayer as their teammate departed in an ambulance for a battle to stay alive. And now Hamlin is conscious and fighting his way back to health.
Faith matters, and what we do for our fellow man is important, however it is that we lend them a hand. Being there for our families and those we love is not something to be taken lightly. And in a nation that so often seems on the brink of disaster, we must always be there to catch others when they fall.
In a world plagued by wars, famines, public shamings, disagreements, conflicts and chaos, it is more important than ever to put God first and live our lives in a loving manner.
A person with faith is truly blessed. He or she greets each day with the comfort and knowledge that their life is in God’s hands. Faith makes it possible to draw upon a unique kind of strength that is far greater than anything we can muster by ourselves alone. Faith in God provides clarity of purpose. It strengthens character. It strengthens our will. It builds confidence and fosters calm. Faith makes it possible to brave even the most brutal of storms and come out safely on the other side.
It would do us all good to remember just how quickly everything we have can be taken from us in the blink of an eye.
A man returning from work in the evening is involved in a terrible car crash and never makes it home. His family receives a shocking phone call that forever ends the dream of the future they thought that their family had together.
Married couples divorce and families that have been together for decades are torn apart.
Intertwined lives are split and people are forced to go their separate ways. Life can be unkind.
On Jan. 2, when Hamlin laced up his cleats, he was probably looking forward to playing a great game that night. He was likely focused on the plays that he would make, the tackles he would deliver, and thinking about how to be the best player he could be, focused on the pursuit of victory.
Then, just minutes into the game, Hamlin was barely clinging to life. Thankfully, we don’t have to go through what this young man is experiencing. Most of us will never be forced to suddenly stare death in the face and then struggle to maintain our grip on life.
But we can all learn from him. The Damar Hamlin story, courtesy of the NFL, is a wakeup call and a reminder that life is precious, and we need to live the best lives we can while we are here on Earth.
We should turn away from the things that don’t matter and refocus our mindset on God and living spiritual lives. We must rededicate ourselves to becoming the best versions of ourselves that we can become.
I have faith in God, and I believe that others should also seek to make him a priority. Having faith in God is the best hope and assurance. It provides that everything will be OK, as he is there for us even in the most difficult times.