Isaiah 40: 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Athletes have a distinct privilege and opportunity as a result of their position of influence. If you become successful in your sport, at whatever level, you begin to become recognized and often admired. This provides the opportunity to do good with this public platform. Bill and Melissa Gates recognized the unique opportunity that exists for athletes so created a partnership between their foundation (Gates Foundation) and Athletes for Hope (AFH). AFH works to connect athletes with global humanitarian causes such as ending childhood malnutrition and malaria. The organization works to educate professional athletes about philanthropy, connects them with charitable causes and assists them in inspiring others to get involved.
AFH has helped bring purpose to more than 4,000 athletes across many sports and certainly has done much good. I am sure that they have brought significant hope to many areas and people desperately needing it. However, without Jesus, the amount of true hope that can be provided to these people is severely limited. We can deal with treating symptoms (lack of food, lack of reliable healthcare etc.), but the root need is ignored – our need for a savior.
In a world that is changing at lightning speed – including technology and even social and moral norms – more than ever we are desperate for stability. The scriptures encourage by reminding us that: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the unchanging one from the beginning of time. Jesus isn’t phased by the latest technology, and certainly not the latest moral relativism being spewed out to the world. Jesus is unaffected for he is the rock on which all else was formed. “19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2: 19-20)
There are times where I become deflated when I look at the world around me. I sense God being pushed out of every aspect of society and replaced with man’s own form of spirituality. When I focus on what I see around me, I lose hope. But then I often remind myself to stop looking around, and start looking up. And the easiest way to do that is to concentrate on the truths that come from scripture. I can choose to be one of those without hope, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31). I can become deflated by hopelessness, but “when I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? (Psalm 8: 3-4). I am absolutely nothing when it comes to this universe; I am an insignificant speck in a vast cosmos, YET the God of this universe is mindful of me! I believe that when God spoke to Jeremiah saying; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5a), he speaks the same to all of us. He knew us and he formed us. We were “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). In this I take great hope. I have true hope in my Savior!