‘God Is Forcing Us to Rest’: Christian Sports Stars Talk Spiritual Growth during Lockdown

NFL tight end Benjamin Watson

By Will Maule


A group of high-profile Christian athletes have gotten together virtually in order to discuss some of the key spiritual lessons that God could be teaching us during this time of lockdown.


The Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ inaugural “Huddle Up” episode featured NFL tight end Benjamin Watson, NFL quarterback Luke McCown, Los Angeles Rams star receiver Brandin Cooks and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, Adam Wainwright. And what do all these pros have in common? Each is a committed follower of Jesus Christ.


“As Christians, we are called to be the light,” said Wainwright, kicking off the 40-minute discussion. “In this time, there is a lot of negativity around. This is time that we can spend encouraging others to make us look different.”


With all professional sports called off for the foreseeable future, the panelists talked candidly about the profound positive impact such a break was having on both their spiritual and family lives.


“This is intentional. God doesn’t do anything by accident, even all the things that you read about in Job,” McCown explained. “God either ordains or allows every circumstance or situation. He ordains it, meaning that He makes it happen. Or He allows it; He gives permission for it to happen. This is just one of those things.”


“I can’t help but think that we have gotten so busy in our lives, whether it’s just going from ballgame to ballgame or ball practice to ball practice or [taking] the kids to dance recitals and this and that and the other, that there is an element that we are missing.”


McCown declared that God is “causing everything to slow down” through the virus lockdown, and that this, in turn, is giving his family precious additional time “to pull into each other and engage with one another around the dinner table, around the board games [and] around the movie night schedule.”


LA Rams receiver Brandin Cooks added that he and his wife are making the most of their time together by reading through a few books of the Bible. “It’s been awesome from that aspect because now she knows how to challenge me in a way that she didn’t know how to challenge me before,” he explained. “I think this time has been very fortunate for that.”


In some additional remarks, Wainwright implored believers to let this enforced slowdown challenge the relentlessness of our modern lives. “There are just so many distractions that pull us in 12,000 different ways all the time,” he said. “This is the time that if we are going to make the most of a bad situation, we could use this to really settle down and get our priorities straight.”


“We forget how important rest is and how important God makes the art of resting,” Cooks added. “I think during this time right now, we need to figure out a way to rest. I am not saying lounge around. But I am more so saying rest and what it means to rest in His word, praying and getting that reset button and being restored at a time like this.”


Earlier this week, the NFL confirmed that it was planning to go ahead with the 2020 season as scheduled, with games slated to commence in September.


“Our planning, our expectation, is fully directed at playing a full season starting on schedule and having a full regular season and full set of playoffs,” NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash said Tuesday, according to The Guardian. “Am I certain? I’m not certain that I’ll be here tomorrow, but I’m planning on it, and same thing, we are planning on having a full season.”

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