Now, CNN doesn’t often do a news stories about high school football player, but there was something very special about this South Carolina player they described this way: “Sometimes the biggest heart on the field can fit into the smallest player.” Well, the name of the player–Kos, a Siberian orphan, adopted by an American family, and as they told the story, he has no legs. He lost them the day he and his friend decided to hop aboard a freight train. For some reason, his friend pushed him and he landed under the wheels of that train.
Now, in this story, he was playing nose tackle on one of his high school’s football teams. As hard as that might be to imagine, he had several solo tackles the past season; he recovered two fumbles; he was such a threat that other teams had to assign two players to defend against him. He would just swing into the fray and knock them down with his strong arms and his head.
His heart on the field and his infectious personality affected more than one school. The football coach at Clemson University brought Kos in to demonstrate his skill to that college team. The coach said, “If my players would max out on what they can give like this young man has, we’d win a lot of games.” By the way, Kos’ goal is to get a good job and make enough money to build a big house with several bedrooms, so he can provide a home for as many disabled Russian orphans as possible.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Victim or Overcomer?”
Victim: That’s what a lot of people in our world feel like. And many of them have been victims of neglect, abuse, gossip, a broken family, tragedy, or rejection. The wounds are real. But that young football player is living proof that your wounds don’t have to define who you are. They don’t have to decide how you handle your life. If you’re living your life saying, “I’m a victim”, it’s ultimately not the fault of the people who hurt you. You have made the choice to let those who’ve hurt you and the wounds they gave you define your life.
That overcoming football player? He had the resume of a victim: no parents, no legs, abandonment, and disability. But he made another choice. He said in his interview that he could see how God was working in his life. He sounds like the great Apostle Paul, who had been through more hurt and abuse than most of us could imagine: whippings, prison, injustice, slander, hit squads determined to kill him, shipwreck, an incurable and painful physical condition. But listen to what he says in Romans 8 beginning with verse 31, our word for today from the Word of God. “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?…Can anything ever separate us from God’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger?…No, despite all these things, (Paul says) overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
Paul, and a Russian orphan who chose to live as an overcomer instead of a victim. They show us the secret of rising above our hurt and our limitations. First, choose to be defined by your love relationship with Jesus Christ, which is disease-proof, terror-proof, disaster-proof and death-proof. Secondly, focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. Thirdly, dedicate yourself to use what you have and what you’ve been through to help other hurting people.
You decide what you’re going to let define you: your pain or your possibilities, your environment or your attitude, your past or your future, your wounds or Jesus’ wounds when He died for you. You can be, as one version says, “…more than conqueror through Him who loved you” (Romans 8:37 – NIV). Then, instead of sitting on life’s sidelines, nursing your wounds and making excuses, you can get in the game and you can play to win!