What God Will Use Despite Us by Julie Arduini

I’ve been part of this blog since the beginning, so if you’ve read my posts for any length of time, you know I am originally from Upstate NY and I really, really want to see the Buffalo Bills be in and win the Super Bowl. I’m writing this before the playoffs, so I have no idea where things stand. Truth is, I’m not a huge football fan. I follow enough to carry on a decent chat.

But my allegiance to the Bills goes back to the Jim Kelly era. I graduated from SUNY Geneseo (Jen-uh-see-oh) and back in the day, they used our track here and there. There were rumors on their off-time some of the players came to town, although I didn’t witness it. But we were closer to Buffalo than any of the other teams, and that made me a fan. Add that some of the students were from downstate and they were die-hard Giants fans, and if you remember the Jim Kelly era, you can imagine the craziness when those teams met.

I write all that because decades have passed and still no Super Bowl win. I continue to follow the team on social media and catch the games as I can. I was half paying attention to the Bills/Bengals Monday Night game earlier this month when I realized they were going to commercial. A lot.

Although I missed the play, I knew from watching NASCAR (another Upstate NY thing given I lived near the Watkins Glen track) when there are continuing commercials, someone is hurt. Bad.

During the broadcast and for days after, I wasn’t just a fan, I was a mom thinking of Nina Hamlin. I know what it’s like to have a dying child in your arms. I still couldn’t process what she must have felt seeing her son on the field, motionless.

I shared on Facebook that even more than a mom, I stepped into intercessor mode. I stood in the gap praying for Damar Hamlin, his family, his teammates, and the Bengals. This was traumatic for all.

Here’s what I posted:

I watched the entire nation pray. They still are, even as Damar FaceTimes and posts on social media. Don’t miss what is going on. He was dead and brought back to life.

Twice.

God uses man and medicine and of course that is at play. But what we are watching is miraculous. He was without oxygen for ten minutes. He is on FaceTime. Talking. Writing.

Flat out miraculous.

I’ve long prayed for a fire to ignite this country that is holy and life changing. Those men praying on the field spread to each NFL team. Other sports. Sponsors. Communities. People.

God doesn’t change but don’t dismiss His ways. They defy our limited thinking.

Can I be honest? I honestly believe we watched a resurrection take place. That’s going to change you if you’re around such a miracle. The NFL up until that night was definitely not prayer supportive. Yet all week I watched players pray. They held prayer meetings. Their social media was filled with messages and images about praying for Damar. It wasn’t a hashtag.

It was an authentic action.

As I type, Damar continues to recover. He’s young, but I sense he understands there is purpose to his life that goes beyond football. I continue to pray for him.

Here’s what I want to make sure we understand. God was in that game. He doesn’t create sickness but He will use it for good. The prayers I have prayed for decades, almost as long as I’ve wanted to see the Bills win, has been for America to rise up, shake off the apathy, and start praying. Believe God. Not just believe in but believe.

The NFL has teams all across the country. Won’t He use those praying players/teams/coaches/fans/communities who started a spark by praying? Those are little revival fires in the making.

But that’s not how Brownsville or Toronto or whatever miracle/revival you remember happened.

Exactly.

Don’t get caught up in what God did last time or 20 years ago or decades ago. He’s going to use whatever way He chooses to advance His Kingdom. And your approval isn’t needed. Nor is mine.

So that’s where I’m at. I believe what was meant for tragedy God is using for good, and using professional football players to pray and praise God. I believe we witnessed a resurrection, and for those at the hospital that night, he was revived again. In the first game following Damar’s injury, the players noted the “three” in their game. That’s Hamlin’s number, but they also realized three is Biblical.

I “billieve” we’re seeing a shift and if I may, from woke to awake. Asleep to alert and on it.

I don’t want to miss out on what God is doing.

How about you?

Image: Tampa Bay Times

About juliearduini

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the new contemporary romance series SURRENDERING HEARTS (Anchored Hearts, Repairing Hearts, +four more.) Her other romance series is SURRENDERING TIME (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged.) She also co-wrote a YA series with her daughter, SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ (You’re Beautiful, You’re Amazing, You’re Brilliant.) Her stand-alone romances include MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN and RESTORING CHRISTMAS. Julie maintains a blog at juliearduini.com and participates in the team blog Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://linktr.ee/JulieArduini.
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