Nick Foles, the Jacksonville Jaguar quarterback, returned to the starting lineup two weeks ago, after being sidelined since he injured his shoulder in the opening week of the season.
It’s been a tough season for Foles who won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles and signed a four-year contract with the Jags in May.
When asked about dealing with the injury Foles said that it has made him a better person. Taught him to have joy even during a difficult situation. And helped him grow in his faith.
Foles said he told God, “If this is the journey you want me to go on, I’m going to glorify you in every action, good or bad.”
Known as an outspoken believer in Jesus, the quarterback referred to his Super Bowl win when he hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, “In that moment I realized I didn’t need that trophy to define who I was because it was already in Christ.”
I don’t know Nick Foles’ religious affiliation, but I know he’s right about two things: (1) We can glorify God even in tough times; and (2) Our achievements, awards, and accolades don’t define who we are. The Christian’s identity is in Christ.
In Psalm 50, Jehovah, speaking through Asaph declared, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”
Normally we don’t think about glorifying God during our difficulties. We give glory to God for our blessings. Our successes. Our material abundance. Our spiritual victories.
Yet, the Bible is filled with commands and examples reminding us that life is not a beautiful bouquet of roses without the thorns. We all experience trials, troubles, and tribulations.
When Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned for preaching Christ, they sang, prayed and gloried God. Not softly or faintly, but loudly enough the other prisoners heard them (Acts 16:25).
While suffering his “thorn in the flesh,” Paul prayed to God three times for its removal. God’s answer? “My grace is sufficient for you.” The thorn remained. But Paul didn’t pout. Rather he glorified God and responded with faith, hope and courageous determination.
“I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When Paul was confined to a Roman prison, he wrote the Philippian letter and spoke of the “joy of faith.” He viewed his imprisonment as an opportunity to “preach Christ,” as the gospel message spread even to the Emperor’s palace. His motto and message was “rejoice in the Lord.”
James reminds us that even when “we face trials of various kinds” that we can “count it all joy” (Jas 1:3). The experience he affirms makes us better. Stronger. More complete in Christ.
It’s well to be reminded in an era of unparalleled prosperity that we don’t thank and glorify God just because of what He’s given us. But because of who HE IS.
The Psalmist affirmed, “I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore” (Ps 86:12).
When? It good times and tough times. In sickness and in health. In joy and in sorrow. In abundance and in scarcity. And in triumph and in defeat.
Why? Because God is worthy to be praised. He is our Creator. All-knowing. All-wise. Ever present. And He will provide. In His time.
I’m reminded of the words of the poet and songwriter, Annie Flint Johnson, who experienced many sorrows in life, yet was strong and faithful.
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions, He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
To God be the glory. In good times or bad.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman