The night before my college football team played the University of Oklahoma in a major New Year’s Eve Bowl bash, we went to a professional ice hockey game to “ease our nerves” and forget the tension of the upcoming duel on the gridiron. The ice hockey game was brutal. The hitting, checking and fighting made our game of football seem more like Nintendo. We moaned, groaned and empathized with the physical punishment each player dealt to their opponent. We left the arena relieved to be putting on our football gear the next day and playing a sport as tame in comparison!
My buddy, Shane, played goalie for his high school ice hockey team. The goalie takes the heat on every play. The frozen puck slams into his face at speeds up to 100 M.P.H. and every player longs to smash him away from the goal to accomplish a rare score into the net. Shane had no fear as he played the game because in hockey, the goalie is protected by his teammates at all costs. In one critical game, a crazed opponent bashed into Shane with both fists. Immediately, Shane’s teammates leaped on the intruder with protective vengeance. The goalie’s burden of protecting the goal is light. He has no fear of the opposing players because at all times, five swiftly skating teammates are ready, willing and able to protect him with their lives.
As a Christian, you are the goalie. The competition of life is intense. The opponents of guilt, perfectionism, failure, and lust are constantly skating before you desiring to eliminate you from the game. But, thanks to our caring, self-sacrificing, protective Savior, Jesus Christ, the game is fun knowing that our teammate is fully capable of responding immediately to our prayer and “body-check our enemy into the boards” as we look to Him in faith and let Him intercede for our daily needs.