I didn’t want or need to see it. Twitter let me know that it was horrific. Within a ten minute span on social media, I felt the full gravity of the moment.
I saw the picture of Hayward’s face that had shock, pain, and “how can this happen?” written all over it.
I saw the GIF showing the reaction of the Cavalier’s bench right after Gordon went down.
I saw the faces of countless fans sitting in the front row from Getty Images.
Then a friend sent me a screenshot of Hayward’s ankle turned the wrong way. I was sick to my stomach—I still am. There are two other emotions going on inside of me that need processing as well: sadness and encouragement.
Why am I sad? It started with this tweet from The Ringer:
Just devastating. Positive thoughts to Gordon Hayward 🙏— The Ringer (@ringer) October 18, 2017
Listen, I understand the intention behind sending “positive thoughts.” My son just broke his wrist in two spots and we have had a number of people send those positive vibes our way. I get the heart behind it. I am not sitting on top of my theological high horse and judging how people deal with and offer hope to others going through hard times.
It just saddens me.
The genesis of my sadness is the realization that this has become the politically correct response from a secularized society. If you cannot pray and ask the creator of the universe to intervene, what do you do? Without a faith in God, who actively listens to and answers prayer, what can you offer?
All you are left with is trying to send positivity to someone who is in pain. At the end of the day, it probably makes you feel a little better for contributing something—but sadly, there is a ceiling on the amount of good it does towards the one who is hurting.
I am also encouraged.
There were a few “positive thoughts” tweets, but there was an overwhelming number of athletes expressing a commitment to pray for Hayward.
2 Corinthians 1:4... Lord be with your son, Gordon Hayward!!— Justin Jackson (@JJacks_44) October 18, 2017
Prayers up @gordonhayward !!— John Wall (@JohnWall) October 18, 2017
Prayers up for @gordonhayward 🙏🏽— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) October 18, 2017
Unreal bro. Prays way up! Heal up ! https://t.co/J3IjQ0lyVJ— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) October 18, 2017
🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 @gordonhayward. Only God has ALL the answers.— Shaun Livingston (@ShaunLivingston) October 18, 2017
Prayer is powerful because it works. God has given us an open line of communication where we can come to him and make requests on behalf of ourselves—and other people. What can we, as a community of believers, be praying for on behalf of Gordon Hayward? Here are a couple ideas:
Pray for healing. Pray for immediate miraculous healing so a watching world will see and know that God has intervened and get the glory. Pray that he would heal completely and that there would be no lingering side effects.
Pray for wisdom. Pray for the doctors performing the surgery. Pray that their skillful hands would repair his fracture bones with excellence. Thank God that he has given this skill level and knowledge to these individuals. Thank God that we live in a time and place where Hayward has quick access to all he needs to heal up quickly.
Pray for Hayward’s heart. Pray that he would lean into God during this hard time. Pray that he would have a community that surrounds him with more prayer, with love, and with good deeds.
Pray for Hayward’s family. Pray that they would feel the love and care of God through other people’s support.
Pray for his teammates. Pray that they would come into a relationship with God as a result of this injury and the surrounding circumstances.
Pray that God would be glorified in the midst of this. This one is tough because it just happened and it is hard to see how any good can come of it. Pray that God, in a way that only he can do, would make his name known and get glory.
Confess. If you are feeling betrayed because Hayward plays for the team you cheer for and you are upset that his injury may negatively affect the Celtic’s season, you probably need to confess that. If he was on your fantasy team and that immediately consumed your thoughts more so than his well being, you probably need to confess that as well.
Many of us felt sick to our stomachs after what happened. If you are a Christ follower, you have access to the one true God. Let’s take advantage of this gift of prayer and intervene on behalf of Gordon Hayward.