Today, I stick to my allegiances. I’ve been a Boston Bruins fan since I was about 4 years old. It brings me an extra measure of joy to write about a Bruin.
In many earlier posts, I’ve talked about names – my own name inspiring the title of this blog. Jarome Iginla’s name is a memorable one, simply for its complexity. His given birth name is Jarome Arthur Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla. And each of those names has a purpose as you can read in this project created by a young fan of Iginla’s.
Iginla has had a long and well honored career. He is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (2002, 2010), and NHL MVP (2002), an All-Star (6 games and 3 end of season All-NHL teams), a two-time Rocket Richard trophy winner (top goal scorer) to name a few. And while he has never been on a Stanley Cup Champion team, I am hoping that this year will be the year. Go Bruins!
Often referred to as a happy guy with an ever-present smile, Iginla enjoys playing hockey. He credits his grandparents with supporting him when he was younger and encouraging him. And while his upbringing consisted of a many different religious influences (his mom is Buddhist, his dad was raised Muslim and later converted to Christianity, Iginla’s school days were spent at a Catholic school), he believed that God existed in some form. But it was a question raised by a junior hockey teammate when Jarome was a teenager that caused him to do some thinking and soul-searching of his own. His teammate asked “What if there is no God?” After struggling with this for a while, scared that there may not really be a God. He told his dad about his fears. His dad instructed Jarome to pray for peace and if he felt peace, he would have proof of God’s existence. Jarome did, and his fears were eased. And from there, Iginla has forged a personal relationship with God.
My takeaways from Iginla’s story:
1- Amazing Grace – God is patient with us, allowing us to question His very existence and giving us the choice to accept or reject Him. And yet, when we ask Him to show Himself, He is faithful to let us know He is real, and so is His love. I often feel drawn to people who grow up in church, and learn to go through the motions of Christianity, but without really stopping to consider and believe for themselves that He is real. Who is God to you? Do you really know and believe that He is real? What difference is it making in your life? Is your relationship with Him your own, and not simply something you believe because your parents, grandparents or friends believe it? God offers his amazing grace to each of us, no matter what we are facing or what fears we have, He desires for us to know Him and the comfort He offers in the midst of those fears.
2- Blessed Assurance -What happens when we die? That is a question that we all struggle with at some point of our lives. Maybe, like Iginla, we have a general understanding that there is a God, but what do we really know about Him. As we come to know Him and understand who the true God really is, we choose whether we will accept Him and live as He calls us to, or reject Him and live for ourselves. If we choose to follow God, even though it is a hard road to follow, we can be assured that our sins are forgiven, our penalty served and our place with God for eternity is secured. When we know this, we, like Iginla, can be known for our smile and for the joy in our lives. We can live joyfully because the life we live doesn’t need to overwhelm us, God is with us and there is nothing that He is unable to do. And life will get even better when we die to this world and move to an eternity with the Lord of all Creation.