“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Life is a test. And I’m trying desperately to pass. I don’t know about you but it seems like way too often, things don’t go the way I planned them. Though I play in the NFL and just signed a new contract, things haven’t been and still aren’t as rosy as they may appear. My road to the NFL – and time in the NFL – has been far from what I envisioned.

Coming into the draft I was graded as a “mid-round selection” and was told that if I performed well at the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and Texas Pro Day then I would surely climb up the draft boards. So I did that. I won Most Outstanding Performance at the Senior Bowl, set records at the 2011 NFL combine, and had an outstanding pro day. I even had a coach from the Raiders call me and tell me he was gonna draft me in the second round after meeting with the team!

Needless to say, I fell to the fourth round. Which, don’t get me wrong, is still an accomplishment, but more of a disappointment at the time because of all of the broken promises.

Fast forward to my first few years in the NFL, when, after a very strong start in seasons one and two, I was sidelined by a broken fibula in year three. Not to mention some of the injuries or other serious illnesses that went undocumented during my first few years, things have not been, and are still not always rosy.

I’m encouraged by stories of guys like Justin Forsett who, after seven years of “wandering” around the NFL and even pondering retirement, found a team that finally showed some long-term commitment. And who knows some of the trials he’s been through on his long journey. There are so many people in these shoes. Not just in the NFL, but in their day to day life. Living life wondering if things will ever turn. What I’m starting to realize is that in all reality, they may not. At least not on this side of eternity.

What gives me hope is the verse I opened with from John 16. “In this world you will have troubles…” Man, I couldn’t agree more. But I’m glad that’s not the ending. Jesus continues by saying, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” What a relief.

And as to the question of whether things are sure to get better here on earth, I’m gonna rest on this laurel from 1 Corinthians 2: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

And I love him, and I’m gonna keep on loving him, until the end of time.