Life inevitably involves suffering but what do you do when two of your three children qualify for Make a Wish? That is the reality that AIA staff members Gus and Suzy Hermes face on a daily basis. Recently, Suzy spoke to a group of 25 sports medicine physicians at the 6th annual chapel at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM). The chapel is a cooperative effort led by members of the AMSSM and the Christian Sports Medicine Association (CSMA). The CSMA is led by AIA and FCA.
“Suzy’s message of reliance on God through incredibly hard times was an encouragement, and helped provide a lens to view our own problems (and our patient’s problems) through,” said Dr. Chad Carlson from Iowa. Suzy’s message included the following exhortation. “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2) Are you kidding me? Joy when my kids have life threatening illnesses? Joy when we receive the termination notice from work? Joy when we receive the dreaded diagnosis from the doctor? Then the verse continues and just gets worse: “WHEN you face trials of many kinds”. It’s not a matter of if, but when. I don’t know about you, but I would sure prefer to learn when things are easy. But we all know, that’s just not how it goes. This seems like a crazy verse but I have learned over the past 16 years of dealing with “the worst disease you’ve never heard of” (Epidermolysis Bullosa) that it is possible, and not only possible, but the preferred path to take for so many reasons.”
Jimmy Brown, an AIA campus staff member in San Diego, emceed the chapel. He said, “I saw physicians deeply moved by Suzy’s story. Her message has the impact to change lives.” Suzy went on to tell the physicians in attendance, “The only way to be able to experience joy in the midst of difficulty is by trusting in God. Sounds simple and sometimes can sound insensitive to listening ears, so we have to be careful how we say it, but it is the absolute truth. Easy to understand; difficult to implement. Why trust God when He allowed this pain in my life? You might be asking yourself. Here’s the answer: because He is good and faithful and sovereign and loves us; He’s got a plan for it all even though many times we can’t see it. He doesn’t waste suffering, not a second of it. He uses it to shape our character to be more like Him. He uses it to remind us that we need Him. Trials cause us to be on our knees so much more, which is a good place to be. He reminds us that our joy is in Him, NOT in our circumstances. And, by the way, bitterness doesn’t get us anywhere good. It just makes us bitter, unpleasant, crabby people. And I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to live my life that way. How we respond to our lives’ circumstance is a choice that is in our own hands. That is why, even in the midst of two of my three daughters having life-threatening illness, I choose joy, because I sure don’t like the alternative. As Casting Crowns said in one of their songs, ‘You are who you are, no matter where I am.’ God’s goodness does not change. I am more in love with Him now than I ever have been in my life. God is good, ALL the time.”
This year’s chapel is the fourth in a series of five messages centered on the AIA Principles. Titled, “Hurtin’ for Certain” the fourth principle is part of a unique curriculum developed by AIA staff over the last 40 years. The Principles are the Gospel applied to sport, experienced through sport and spoken in the language of sport. Those who study the Principles gain a Biblical framework to help them see sport as an opportunity to worship God, so that they can participate in sport in a way that honors Him. For team physicians, athletic trainers and strength coaches who serve athletes the Principles offer the same framework to build their careers on. Dr. Tracy Ray of North Carolina said, “All of the feedback I got from attendees was very positive, encouraging and challenging. Suzy brought it.” Does Suzy’s story impact your heart? Contact our staff or use these links for more information on the AIA Principles or AIA’s ministry.
Tags: American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, AMSSM, Athletes in Action, Athletes in Action Sports Performance, Campus Ministry, Christian Sports Medicine Association, CSMA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sports Medicine