Baseball Hall-of-Fame catcher Gary Carter was a follower of Jesus. During his 19-year career, he drew strength and endurance from his faith in God to compete day after day. In an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal shortly after Carter died of brain cancer at age 57, writer Andrew Klavan told how Carter had influenced his life.
In the late 1980s, Klavan had sunk to a low point in his life. His mind dwelt on suicide. Then he heard Carter interviewed after a game. His team, the New York Mets, had won, and the aging catcher had helped by running hard at a critical point in the game. Carter was asked how he could do that with his aching knees. Klavan heard him say something like this: “Sometimes you just have to play in pain.” That simple statement helped draw Klavan out of his depression. “I can do that!” he declared. Encouraged, he found hope—and later became a believer in Christ.
The comforting truth behind Carter’s statement comes from Lamentations. We may face sorrow, pain, and hardship, but we don’t have to sink into self-pity. The same God who allows our suffering also showers us with His compassion (Lam. 3:32). With God’s love lifting us up, we can—if we have to—“play” in pain.
That God will help us bear;
Then we can look beyond the pain
To those who need our care. —Branon