Read John 16:19-33.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (v. 33b).”
From the time when he pulled a pot of boiling spaghetti off a stove, Kirk Cousin’s life has been about overcoming the odds.
Cousins finished his career in East Lansing in 2011 as the greatest quarterback in school history to that time. Among others, he set records for wins, passing yards, and touchdown passes. (Records subsequently broken by Connor Cook (2012-16).) In 2011, he won the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, presented to the most outstanding student-athlete in NCAA’s Division I FBS.
None of it — indeed, not much of anything in Cousins’ life — came easy. His battle against the odds began when he was 19 months old and had that awful encounter with the boiling pasta. When his clothes were removed from his upper torso, a layer of skin came with them. He spent two weeks in the hospital and had to wear a jacket to compress the skin for almost a year. “It was horrific for all of us,” said his father, Don, a pastor. Doctors said he would heal but would never be able to throw a ball properly.
In the sixth grade, Cousins played tackle football for the first time. The coach relegated him to the B-team. All he did was lead the team to the league championship. As a sophomore, he was told he wasn’t good enough to play on the varsity baseball team. He chose to stay anyhow and became the starting third baseman. He started his junior season as the basketball team’s third-string point guard. He moved into the starting lineup his first game.
When Cousins played his last high school football game, he didn’t have a major scholarship offer. He landed a scholarship only after more highly recruited quarterbacks turned State down. Even then, he wasn’t expected to play. “The fact is he’s been overlooked and underestimated most of his life,” said the senior Cousins about his son’s obstacles.
And each step along the way, Kirk Cousins has overcome. We often hear inspiring stories of people who triumph by overcoming especially daunting obstacles. Those barriers may be physical or mental disabilities or great personal tragedies or injustice. When we hear of them, we may well respond with a little prayer of thanksgiving that life has been kinder to us.
But all people of faith, no matter how drastic the obstacles they face, must ultimately overcome the same opponent: the Satan-infested world. Some do have it tougher than others, but we all must fight daily to remain confident and optimistic.
To merely survive from day to day is to give up by surrendering our trust in God’s involvement in our daily life. To overcome, however, is to stand up to the world and fight its temptations that would erode the armor of our faith in Jesus Christ.
Today is a day for you to overcome by remaining faithful. The very hosts of Heaven wait to hail the conquering hero.
My life has been living evidence of God’s ability to do the unexplainable. — Kirk Cousins on overcoming the odds
Life’s difficulties provide us a chance to experience the true joy of victory in Jesus.