Mike Backer – The QB of the defense. The Mike Backer is in charge of getting the entire defense set and the play called. The Mike Backer is normally the biggest and hardest hitting linebacker.
Big Lee Ziemba stared me down from the T-ball mound. Lee, a future blue-chip offensive tackle, was one of the biggest humans I’d met in Arkansas. By the fifth grade, he stood more than six feet tall and threw the meanest fastball in Little League.
Stepping up to bat, I swallowed the lump in my throat. Lee wound up and unfurled the ball. Terror gripped me. The ball crushed me in the ribs and laid me out, gasping for breath. For a second I almost though I was moving toward the light.
After that game, I stood at the edge of the batter’s box and flinched every time the ball was pitched to me. I finished out the last few games and never stepped onto a baseball field again.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, and the mountains quake with their surging (Psalm 46:1-3).
Today, Lee Zeimba is an NFL offensive lineman. Back in the fifth grade, he was a monster who swung a mighty pitch that ended my baseball career. The Zimba fear factor changed me from a first baseman hitting home runs to a washed-up benchwarmer, cowering in the dugout while my mom fussed at the coach to put me in the game.
I wasn’t afraid of Lee though; he was my friend. We later became high school football teammates. Since, I’ve played against many Lee Ziemba types. We call them Mike Backers—big, hard-hitting linebackers. They can scare the life out of you. You have to face your fears and will yourself to take on those monsters on the football field.
Fear is useless. It makes you question yourself, your life, and your faith. Few things are more destructive.
Are you struggling with fear? Are you scared to take the next step in a job or a relationship? Are you afraid to make an important decision? Do the Mike Backers in your life seem too big to handle?
These are times to find strength in God’s Word. The Bible assures us that even if the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, we should not fear. God can give us courage and deliver us from fear before it grows as big as a crushingly powerful Mike Backer.
FiRST AND GOAL BY JAKE BYRNE – Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since a teenager, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger. Jake lives in Dallas with his wife, Emma, and two four-legged kids: Duke the Dogo Argentino and Yeti the Great Dane.
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