“That’s Why I’m Here (The Chris & Stefanie Spielman Story)” by Chris Spielman with Bruce Hooley

I just finished reading Chris Spielman’s new book entitled, That’s Why I’m Here (The Chris & Stefanie Spielman Story).” It is a story about his career as an All-American linebacker at Ohio State University, Pro Bowl linebacker for the Detroit Lions, and, most importantly, his and his wife’s twelve year battle against breast cancer (she died in November, 2009). In a CBS Sports interview Spielman was asked, “How did your wife’s diagnosis change your perspective on life?

His answer was very direct and thought-provoking: “ [It helped me realize] that I can’t control everything. That I can’t out-prepare, out-work, out-lift, out-run. [sic] And that’s hard for a competitive guy, who basically thought that success was based solely on effort and toughness and strength and endurance. It’s not. There are some things that you cannot control.”

There are situations that come into our lives that are bigger than we are. Sometimes it is a disease; sometimes it is a broken relationship; sometimes it is simply a life that didn’t turn out the way we had planned; but is something that we are unable to defeat, repair, or change, no matter how diligently we “prepare, work, lift, or run.” It is in times like these that we need the grace of God.

When we could not keep God’s Law and deserved His wrath and curse for our cosmic treason, Christ kept the Law on our behalf and experienced God’s wrath on the cross so that we would not have to face the penalty for our sin. When we face situations that overwhelm us, we are reminded of Christ’s promise to His people that He will not leave us, nor forsake us, but will finish the work that He has started in our lives. When we face death itself, the One who “holds the keys to death and the grave” will be there so that though “we die, yet shall we live.” God does have a purpose and plan for each of our lives as we live out our lives for His glory. We just have to trust in the One who does have total control; the one to whom “every knee [will] bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that [He] is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Christ, our Lord.

(Although I might have a few theological quibbles with the book, football junkies will enjoy the story of Spielman’s playing days, and it is also a marvelous love story of a husband and wife facing dark days together in the strength of their Lord. The book is an easy read, and I enjoyed it very much. Ladies, you might need a box of Kleenex or two.)

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