Former New York Knicks shooting guard Landry Fields who is now an unrestricted free agent after a series of injuries derailed his career in the NBA revealed Saturday that God has used his injuries to “fold faith into me.”
Fields, 27, who last played for the Toronto Raptors and doesn’t seem to have a clear path to any NBA team due to his current health status revealed how the injuries interrupted his life and brought him closer to God in an op-ed for John Piper’s Desiring God blog.
“I was a starter for the New York Knicks and then the Toronto Raptors. And then I got injured, and then injured again, and then injured again. An elbow, a hand, a hip — an unholy trinity that slowly, progressively, and painfully dragged away my ability to play basketball for several seasons. My dream, my deepest desire, my identity were all suddenly in danger. It felt like life had been written in dry-erase marker, and God came and smudged what had been clear before. Once a star basketball player in Madison Square Garden, and now through three years of unplanned, unwanted physical issues, in my house straining just to check my phone,” wrote Fields.
He explained how as his injuries began piling up God forced him to seen his sinful life and pay more attention to his faith.
“When I was playing for the Knicks, I knew God existed and disapproved of the life I was living (overindulging in alcohol and sexual promiscuity), but I preached a gospel of cheap grace to make myself feel better. With the injuries, God exposed that I was relying on something other than grace painted to look like grace — a cheap grace that was as useful for my suffering as a cardboard cutout of Jesus,” he wrote.
And while dealing with his injuries have been difficult finding “true faith” in the middle of his storm has been worthwhile.
“Like a meticulous watchmaker, God folded true faith into me through the creases of suffering, through all of the injuries, the waiting, and the disappointment. Not all at once, but day after day, over the course of years, God brought new clarity. The joy that God gives in suffering is a game-changer. It changes pain. It drastically transforms the first sixty seconds of your day. It course-corrects the next sixty years of your life,” he explained.
Fields said as he suffered injuries in the last three years, the girl he was dating “for a few months” became pregnant and he wasn’t sure what to do but “by God’s grace, now she’s my wife.”
“Suffering is beautiful because it sets us free. Now, my wife is a believer. We’re raising our son to love Jesus. God’s continuing his work on my heart through the latest hip surgery. My faith is in a God who is sovereign, who is sanctifying me, and who gives me the gift of himself through sufferings and joys in this life,” noted Fields.
“Suffering has made the gospel real to me. And God will use suffering to make the gospel real to you too. If you’re going through something painful or difficult, it doesn’t mean that God isn’t paying attention or doesn’t care. It means God wants to win you to true faith in him, a better hope in his salvation, and deep humility and joy in his grace,” he ended.