Great Plains Daily Devotional for 2/9/2022

Today please be in prayer for

Waverly, NE First UMC
Blue River District
Blue Springs UMC
Wymore: First UMC
Blue River District
Galichia Heart Hospital
Wichita West District
Gordon's Chapel, North Georgia Conference
Wichita West District

Today's Lectionary Text

John 21:15-19

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Today's Devotional

Some of you may have watched the recent Australian Open, a tennis major event. If so, you saw a wonderful comeback by Rafael Nadal in the Men’s final. Down 2 sets to none, he rallied to win 3 sets in a row to claim his 21st major title, a men’s record. Most sports have some sort of an award for big comebacks, typically called Comeback Player of the Year. The award signifies that a player who was once at the top of their game, and who has slipped into lesser performance for whatever reasons, comes back to have a high-performance season again. Nadal does not really fit that definition, but his comeback reminded me of another Australian Open comeback some twenty years ago.

The comeback athlete advancing all the way to the finals of the Australian Open was Jennifer Capriati. If you do not follow tennis, Jennifer Capriati was a teen phenom, winning titles and advancing to a top 10 ranking in the world at 16 years old. But fame and fortune thrust upon a teen can often bring adversity and self-destructive behavior Jennifer struggled with drugs and alcohol and after a couple of years at the top, she fell dramatically with the whole tennis world looking at her. I do not know exactly how she came back, through a 12-step program or another rehabilitation program, but come back she did to compete once again in a major tennis event at 25 years old. As far as I know, she did not receive an award, but coming back from the bottom of your life is truly its own reward. There is also no special award for anyone who defeats an addiction, and most do not get their story aired on TV, but the reward is living wholly once again, and making amends and reconciling with those you’ve hurt - these things are the reward.
I also know that Jennifer, and thousands like her, do not come back alone. It takes letting a loving God have control of your life and lifting you out of the pit by the hand and turning you around and setting you back on the path to wholeness. It takes a loving community to care about and support you in your comeback. This is the work of God and it is well documented in the Bible that God fosters comebacks - just ask Moses, Elijah, David or Peter. This is also the work of the church because for those like Jennifer who turn it around, there are tens of thousands who do not. I believe it is my call and your call as well to reach out and help as many as we can become Comeback Players of the Year.

-Rev. Galen Wray

Prayer for Reflection

Gracious God, help us in our lives to know that no matter how hard or far we fall, our loving God is there to lift us up and offer us a chance to be a Comeback Player of the Year. Amen.


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