If you have played sport at any level chances are you have heard this phrase, “No pain, no gain”. Is that something that you truly believe? That without pain it is impossible for you to improve? Perhaps not. However it does seem that pain and netball go hand in hand. If you have ever been out to central courts on a Saturday and you’ve ever looked down at the feet of the players you would have noticed that so many players have black material wrapped around their ankles or knees. It looks like nearly half of all players will be wearing a brace of some sort. Clearly pain is an ever present reality for some.
Netball certainly can be one of the most punishing sports on the body that I have ever played. The constant starting and stopping, jumping and landing, changing direction and the odd collision on court all takes its toll on the body and mind.
Netball though isn’t the only place where we feel pain. Life isn’t easy and I know that there are times in my life that I would take a rolled ankle over the pain of disappointment or the grief of loss. In fact there would be times, when faced with emotional pain, that I would run. And I would run and run until my body ached and my lungs felt like they would burst. I would want to feel something strong enough to numb the pain of what was really troubling me.
Paul in his letters to the Corinthians addresses pain.
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Paul knew pain. He was imprisoned for doing what he believed in, beaten for the truth that he held, “Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea.” (2 Corinthians 11:24-25)
“my grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
But Paul is content in pain and weakness, “The Lord said to me ‘my grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Jesus too knew pain. Our pain.
“He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5
Paul discovered that on his own he would never be enough. When Paul was pained and weak, he turned to God and discovered strength. When we turn to God and allow God into our pain and our weakness, and ask Him to take control it is then that we become whole, healed and powerful beyond measure. For without pain there is no gain.
Chaplain | Westbourne Park Uniting Church Netball Club
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