I have always failed sports. I’ve never been able to kick or throw or catch anything properly. Choose me for your soccer team? You’ll lose for sure. Pass me the ball? What are you thinking!? But one day, someone chose me for his team.
“Come play soccer with us,” my friend, who was also a talented soccer player, persuaded.
Normally, I would have said no right away, but something in his kindly eyes or the way he asked me changed my mind. Perhaps the fact that I was at acting school far from home helped, too. I really don’t know what made me say yes, but I did.
I practically just stood there in the field, like I always did, letting the star players kick the ball and run about. This wasn’t my game. I would just lose. I watched my friend, undoubtably the most talented of the group, running and kicking with skill. He would surely get this next goal. Yes, I knew that he would! But he chose not to score a goal himself. No, instead my friend passed the ball to me.
Overwhelmed with shock and self-doubt, I kicked the ball quickly and unskillfully. Although I did my best to aim it towards the goal, a member of the opposing team soon got a hold of it and my friend’s gift was lost. Oh why did he pass it to me? I wondered, feeling ashamed and sorry. He must be sorry that he did that. He’ll never pass it to me again now! Amidst this sorrow, I recalled the gift that my friend had indeed still given to me, although I had misused it. From then on, I decided to play the game like I meant it. I would fight hard to thank him for his gift.
I ran and ran, harder than ever before. I chased that ball and longed for it to come to me. I wished that I could score a goal for the sake of my friend who had sacrificed for me. I watched him run, and marveled at his skill. He could out-run anyone, dribble for longer, and defend that ball like it meant the world to him. If only I could be like him! But I didn’t need to be any better for him, as he passed the ball back to me without a second thought.
There was no remembrance, no grudge, or even worry, it would seem. Even though he was the best player and I the worst, my friend still passed that ball to me. He passed it more than once but several times. And most of those times I failed miserably. Sometimes I passed it successfully to another team member, or almost made a goal, but I never scored. But he always forgave, trusted, loved, and gave me a second chance.
Why my friend passed me the ball time and time again, I’ll never know. He could have scored half a dozen times but instead, he lovingly gave me a chance. I’ll never know why he made that choice, but I’m sure glad that he did.
Just like that friend saved and forgave me time and time again that night, I have been saved and forgiven from all of my wrongdoings, by the One who created me. My countless wrongs have been washed away, and my slate is clean. Even though I’ve failed miserably, I have been given another chance at life because He always passes the ball again, no matter how badly I miss the goal the first time.
Have you taken the ball yet? I know that God has passed it to you, and He is waiting for you to give it your best shot. It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed – God will always be your friend, passing you the ball.