When my confirmation students miss class for sports or other school activities, I give them an assignment. They are to report back to me the moments they saw God in what they were doing. I do this, because I truly believe we all can see God at work anywhere. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts to the Holy Spirit working in us.
As many of you know, I spend a great deal of time and devotion as a Pastor supporting my youth and their families at school sporting events. Not every Pastor makes this choice for a variety of reasons. But early on in my ministry, I made the decision to do this. And my dedication to it is as just much a personal choice as it a pastoral one.
And because of this, I have spotted God at the gym and experienced the Holy in the ordinary more than once. These sightings go beyond the obvious ones of crosses on walls, prayers in locker rooms, and the community bond our teams create for us. God is at work even when we do not see it.
This is one of the places, I spotted God at the 2020 Region 7 Girls Basketball Tournament in Dickinson. After the Nighthawks first game, many of us were gathered and waiting for the players to come out of the locker room. I was talking to a couple of parents, when one of the players approached the coach’s wife and “team Mom” in tears. She did not perform as well as she hoped that night.
Soon another parent nearby joined in on the conversation. I then witnessed two Christian women comforting the player. They consoled, encouraged, and then reminded her of the hope for a better game the next night. This seems like a normal interaction at the gym. Yet, I see it as a visual illustration of the verse, “How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.(Matthew 23:37).”
I encourage you to reflect on some of your experiences this week. In any of those moments, did you receive something that was life giving? Did you experience healing, wholeness, or comfort from another’s actions? Were you the recipient of mercy? It could be a coincidence, but I think God was at work in that moment for you. For the bible says, God is with us wherever we go (Genesis 28:15), God has a hand in our good works (Ephesians 2:10 and James 1:17) and God promises an advocate and comforter in the Holy Spirit (John 14:5). May God bless you in the Holy work of your everyday lives!