In June of 2013 I was out for a run in OBX on our annual family vacation. When I returned, my wife told me that they saw on ESPN that former NFL quarterback Jim Kelly had been diagnosed with cancer. My heart immediately fell. Not because he’s a former NFL quarterback or hall of famer. Because I immediately remembered the gut wrenching story of losing his son to a dreadful disease at 8 years old. From everything I had read and heard about Jim and his wife Kelly, they are great people of faith. She has written books and maintains a blog openly sharing their faith. My wife said she thinks she may have even heard Jill speak at a conference once.
After a few weeks, the news got better. Jim had surgery and was pronounced cancer free. Suddenly I felt better. I felt like God had answered a prayer for this family. Maybe favor was shown to a family that had been through so much. Beyond family and health, this was the man that was the quarterback of the only NFL team to go to 4 straight super bowls and never win one of them. It was great to read reports of how well he was doing and see Jim Kelly out at events and sharing the good news of his recovery. Not because he is an athlete or public figure. Because he is a father and husband.
Then just a few weeks ago came the absolutely crushing news that his cancer had returned. Immediately, my heart sank. I felt sick. Not because he’s an NFL player. Not because he’s a public figure or hall of famer. Because he’s a father and a husband and by all accounts, he thought he had beat this dreadful disease.
The image you see above is from Jim Kelly’s daughter (the same one that was a child in that previous picture). She posted it on Instagram with the caption “Watching the Syracuse game with daddy – he’s my buddy! Love him so much!! #daddysgirl #prayersforjk #Kellytough,” When I look at this image, I just keep thinking…”God, this hurts.” I don’t know why some people are given the hand they are given. I can’t explain why a family would have to bury their son. I can’t explain why a man would have to go through the ridicule of 4 straight super bowl losses. I don’t know why cancer would attack this same man, a man of faith, only to beat it and have it return “aggressive and spreading.”
God, this hurts.
It hurts for his wife.
It hurts for his family.
It hurts for anyone that is fighting this dreadful disease.
If you believe in prayer, would you say one for Jim Kelly? Would you boldly approach His throne asking God to show favor on this family and any other family facing these tough battles?
Not because he’s a former quarterback in the NFL.
Not because he’s famous.
Because he’s a father, and a husband.
God, this hurts.