There is nothing quite like a college football game under the lights on a Saturday night. While most college football is played in the afternoon, there are those rare occasions when the schedule shows a night game. The importance of the game seems to elevate with the passing hours of the day. Your pre-game routines are altered as you count down the moments until “game time.”
It was a cool and crisp Saturday night in the Midwest. The lights were on, the fans were filling the stands, the band was playing, and we were ready for some football! From the opening kick-off the game was intense and neither team could get any momentum. With the clock ticking down toward half-time, the opposing team decided to “go for it all.” The quarterback took a seven-step drop while his lineman formed a pocket around him. As an outside linebacker, I read his eyes, saw the play developing, and dropped deep into my zone of coverage anticipating that the tight end would run an out pattern into my zone.
The play developed much as I thought, but instead of throwing to the tight end, the quarterback heaved the ball as far as he could down the sideline toward his wide receiver who was sprinting toward the end zone. Our defensive back was stride for stride with him and the ball came spiraling down near the sideline at about the fifteen yard line. Both players leaped high in the air to try to catch the ball and as they did, made contact with each other. As I sprinted toward the play, I saw the ball being tipped away at the last moment by my teammate and fall harmlessly to the ground. Almost instantaneously, however, I heard a scream!
As the two players reached for the ball, their legs became tangled and as soon as they fell to the ground together, the wide receiver from the other team began clutching his leg in agony. I remember vividly the referee blowing his whistle and immediately yelling to the sideline for help. As I approached a second or two later, I could see that the bone in his leg was broken and literally protruding out from the skin! It was a horrible sight—one that quite frankly made me immediately sick to my stomach. Days later, some of us had the opportunity to contact that player in the hospital, and although his season had suddenly ended with one play, his leg was properly set and he recovered.
The Bible commands us in Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” The word restore here has a medical connotation and means to “set as one would set a broken bone.” As we look around in this world today, it is not hard to see the lives that are being broken by sin. While the game of life offers its fun and excitement, the devil lurks and longs for an opportunity to “break” the life.
Isaiah describes the condition of man’s sin as leaving him thus: “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment” (Isaiah 1:6). Jesus describes a man in Luke 10:30 who “went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” What a picture of what Satan with his arsenal of sin is doing to lives today!
But God tells us to “restore!” Our ministry is to set the broken life! Isaiah 40:4 tells us that when Christ would come “the crooked shall be made straight.” Medically, when a bone is broken and reset, we are told that the place where the bone was previously broken becomes stronger than it was originally. While we would think that just the opposite would be the case, a broken bone can become better than it was before! Isn’t that exactly what God does with our lives as well? Perhaps that is why God says in Psalms 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart , O God, thou wilt not despise.”
God loves a broken heart because He knows that when we come to Him in that condition, He can make all things new. He can give us a new heart and a new spirit that will be better and stronger than before. Look around today. Do you see any broken lives? God can and desires to use us to “heal the broken-hearted.”