Skint Knees and Soccer Fields

Saturday, October 25, 2008
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Psalm 145:14 – The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. (NIV)

As a boy, I used to play soccer on a red gravel football field. Such fields still exist, and one can see them all over Scotland wherever local schools have soccer fields. The gravel was the colour of Tennessee red clay, and when it was wet — which in Scotland was usually every second day — it stained my clothing and caused my mom to have a fit.

It was a great surface to play on because the bounce that it gave the ball was terrific. Controlling the ball was difficult, and the game was always played at a fierce rate. Most of my sprint skills were learned on a soccer pitch. There was, however, one almighty drawback to playing on the pitch. When you were tripped up by another player or fell to your knees, the red gravel would cut through the skin, gashing your knees and filling the wound with small gravel stones. The pain was excruciating at times, but most players got up, laughed it off, and kept on playing with "skint" knees.

After such an incident, I dreaded going home, not because I was worried about the mess of my clothes, but I was anxious about how my mom would treat my wounded knees. She would wash them with a hot cloth, and then painfully take out the small stones with tweezers. Finally came the most agonizing moment, when she would apply antiseptic to the wound. That would usually make me jump with pain and I would limp to my bedroom, vowing that I would never let her do that to me again. Nevertheless, within a couple of days, I would have to go through the same painful process.

Sometimes when we fall in life, it's hard to get up and painful to recover. We all make foolish decisions and fall prey to temptation. We have to live with consequences of our stupidity and sinfulness, but we do not have to be defined by them. The Lord, who watches over us, is willing to help us get back on our feet by forgiving our sins, healing our brokenness, and restoring our lives. It may be emotionally painful for a while, and we may have to experience shame and contrition, and embarrassment and rebuke for a time, but in the end if we are truly repentant and deeply sorry, God will raise us up through the cleansing blood of Christ.

Prayer: Lord God, we are imperfect, impetuous, and impertinent. We cause others hurt and humiliation, disappointment and dread. Forgive us for being so self-centred and sinful. Teach us the ways of contrition and sorrow, repentance and restoration. Grant us this through our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Healer. Amen.

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John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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