Originally published in the King’s Stanley Magazine.
Last month I risked writing about the World Cup and about “putting my faith in the team, despite past failures.” Well, we now know “they did us proud” and Gareth Southgate, the England manager, has been widely praised for his ability to instil confidence and give clarity and direction.
Among various things that stood out during the competition, one really caught my attention. It was something that Gareth Southgate said, the man who missed a penalty in Euro 96.
I’ve learnt a million things from that day and the years that have followed it. The biggest thing being that when something goes wrong in your life, it doesn’t finish you.
Failure, defeat, losing, making mistakes, getting it wrong, messing things up – these are experiences every single human being has. Sometimes it is “our fault.” More often, it’s “six of one and half a dozen of the other,” and at other times sheer bad luck. Things go wrong. The secret is not to let whatever it is finish you. Believe in yourself, allow others to help you, and remember there are the rich resources of faith at hand. Some have prayed in desperation and have found strength from God. Others have opened a bible and found a verse that seems to speak to their need. Others have gone to a church and been drawn in by the welcome and sense of peace.
Belief, confidence, clarity, and direction. Belief instilled into a football team; belief offered to each one of us. Confidence because every human being is of immense worth as a creature of God. Clarity in that we try to live as Jesus wants us to. Direction because we follow Jesus, believing that he has “prepared a place” for his followers.
Once more we extend a welcome to all to our services, to join with a group in the adventure of taking the risk of faith.
Robert Draycott (Rev)