The Rugby World Cup is slowly edging towards its climax and teams over the next few days will be grabbing their sport for the quarter finals. But there is a storm coming! Typhoons are predicted over the weekend which can have a dramatic effect on results. Ireland for example would be red hot favourites to win their game, but an abandonment will mean only a draw, and they will be knocked out the tournament. How does a player deal with his chances of glory being devastated by the weather? How does a player cope when a dream he has worked for years to achieve is destroyed by ‘lady luck’? The margins in elite sport are so thin between success and failure that often chance has a leading role.
The mistake that chaplains can make is trying to make sense of it. Attempting to justify to the athlete why God may have decided to allow that to happen. Such an approach is a spiritual quagmire.
It is interesting researching suffering how responses to it have changed over time. Now when suffering occurs it seems the prevalent question is ‘why did God allow that to happen?’ whereas in medieval times the question was ‘How can God help me in my suffering’ Perhaps this is the route that best serves the sports person, not to, in that moment get lost in trying to make sense of what has happened, but rather focus on the question ‘In my grief of loss Jesus how can you help me now?’