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I was there the day my son's dream died. Since he'd been little, playing big-time football had been his dream. If, as they say, biology is destiny, and him being my son, he was not destined to have a football player's size by any means. But he really worked at it, he spent hours in the gym, he was bulking up, he was practicing with focus and intensity. And honestly, he was very good at football - until the day he went down in a driving drill with a badly injured knee. He had torn his anterior cruciate ligament - an injury dreaded by anyone in sports. One of the top sports med doctors in our area examined our son's knee - and then he said those words that sounded like a death sentence to our boy, "You'll never play football again."
Our son's dream died that day, but God's dream for him was born. He later said, "It was really my god that died that day" - the athletic death sentence from the doctor ultimately helped our son realize that football had become his god, and he surrendered his life totally to Christ. He replaced football with learning the guitar and writing songs. Those talents helped him form a unique Native American band to reach reservation young people, and his life was set on the track he was made for: to reach Native young people for Christ.
For our son, "You'll never play football" were some of the ugliest words he'd ever heard. Hey, there are a lot of ugly words in life: cancer, divorce, fired, unemployed, broke, rejected, guilty, bankrupt, incurable, and a lot of words that sound like a death sentence at the time. But there is an amazing truth that more than balances the other side of the scale and it is displayed in our word for today from the Word of God. In a nutshell, here's the hope-giving truth about life's ugly words - the ugly word is not the final word!
In Luke 7, beginning with verse 2, we meet a Roman centurion whose highly valued servant is "sick and about to die." The centurion sends messengers to Jesus, desperately pleading for His help. Part of his message went like this: "Say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." The Bible goes on to say, "When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him and...He said, 'I have not found such great faith even in Israel.'" Jesus said this man had amazing faith. He often upbraided His disciples for their "little faith," but what was it about this soldier's faith that amazed Jesus and, by the way, brought about the miraculous healing of the servant he loved?
Well, amazing faith is all about authority and what authority will decide the outcome in your situation. Amazing faith believes that Jesus will decide the outcome and nothing else! The disease won't decide it, the boss won't decide it, the economy won't decide it, your enemies won't decide it, the odds won't decide it, the devil won't decide it - Jesus will decide it! If He says "'Go" to it, it's got to go! If He says, "Come," it's got to come! If He says, "Do this," it has to do it! Jesus, say the word!
Great faith can trigger miraculous outcomes, even when you're living one of life's ugliest words. And great faith - the kind that amazes Jesus - is faith that lives as if Jesus is going to decide this! Because, for a child of God, life's ugly words do not have the final word. Jesus does!