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Even through its unique turmoil, All-Pro NFL quarterback Carson Wentz has chosen to view 2020 through a God-sized lens. Although he’s faced the same uncertainties as other athletes around the world, he has found ways to experience joy. It didn’t hurt that he and his wife, Maddie, welcomed their daughter this April, bringing the smile of a new dad to his face. Now, in a time characterized by chaos and uncertainty, Wentz is showing the world how to survive the stress: staying focused on the Lord and pursuing Him with 100%.
In a year of inconsistency and new arrivals, what has remained constant for you?
Getting into the Word every day. I tell others to prioritize it and make it a part of their day. God’s going to teach you; He’s going to reveal something every time you get into it. Just do your best to take that time. When I see that I’m not making it a priority or a part of my day, I can tell. I usually am getting frustrated over little things as a teammate and husband. So, making the Word a priority early in my day changes my outlook and perspective.
What is God teaching you through this year?
I have a new perspective of urgency—urgency to share the Gospel. Urgency to live it out and tell people about it. I recently finished reading Acts and how the Apostle Paul went everywhere, urgently spreading the Gospel. He didn’t care if he was in chains. This dude was stoned outside of the city, almost died, then got himself back up and returned to the city to preach the Gospel the next day because that’s how urgent he was and how much he cared. That’s really challenged me. It might look a little different. It might be virtual. But having the urgency of telling people about Jesus and being bold the way the apostles were has challenged me. I don’t want to lose this desire and fervor.
Most NFL fans remember your season-ending knee injury in 2017. How have you applied what God taught you then to the adversities of this year?
My life slogan is, “Audience of One,” and that really challenged me and led me to a place of full surrender after my injury. It’s easy to praise the Lord and trust God when everything is going great, but when stuff is personally taken away, that’s when it really challenges us. I learned through my injury what I’m applying today. As a man of God and a follower of Christ, I’ve got to practice what I preach. I’ve got to say, “OK, God, even if you take this away right now, I’m still going to trust in You. I’m still going to praise You. I’m still going to worship You. And I’m still going to say that You are good and You are perfect.” When I lost my season in that way, in a different light, it really pushed me into a deeper faith, a deeper trust and a deeper surrender to the Lord. That’s really helped me grow in my faith, and if that season wasn’t taken away, I probably wouldn’t have been pushed, challenged or have grown in those things.
Who are you if you can’t play your sport?
When you lose your sport, you have to figure out your identity. As a follower of Christ, that is my identity. I’m not an athlete who follows Jesus. I’m a follower of Jesus who is an athlete. This is easy to say, but to live it out can be a challenge at times. With sports, the higher you get, the brighter the spotlight and stronger the praise. If you’re not grounded and rooted in the Word, it can be so easy for identity to be consumed with sport because that’s what the world, media, fans and even family members, tell you. It can consume you no matter how strong your faith.
What does the idea of 100% mean to you?
I think of the story in the Bible when Jesus told the rich, young ruler to go and sell everything he had and follow Him, and that rich, young ruler went away sad (Mark 10:22). He wanted to be born again and in God’s Kingdom, but where he put his value—he had to get rid of that. For us, this is also a challenge. We want to say, “OK, God, I can surrender this area of my life, but I’m going to hold onto this other one a while. I want to have control over this one, but that one You can have.” We can try to give 50% surrender or 60% surrender, but God wants 100% surrender.
Written with support from Nevin Rosner
Photos courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles