Don’t deny God’s plan

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 31, 2010

Unless you are an avid fan of the Oakland Raiders football team, the name Jack Tatum might not ring a bell. Tatum, 61, died this week of a heart attack. He was a safety for the Raiders in the 1970s and was a member of the famous Soul Patrol. Opposing players said that getting hit by Tatum was like getting hit by a truck.

In an exhibition game

Aug. 12, 1978, against the

New England Patriots, Tatum hit the Patriots’ Darryl Stingley on a pass over the middle. Tatum got up after

the vicious hit, but Stingley never walked again. The contact severed Stingley’s fourth and fifth vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. He died in 2007.

The people who knew Tatum said it was something that bothered him the rest of his life.

That story is sad enough, but the rest of the story is even more tragic. According to Tatum, he tried to visit Stingley in an Oakland hospital shortly after the incident but was turned away by Stingley’s family. The two never met after that.

The family members who prevented the hospital visit may have very well interfered with what God had in store for healing both men. Tatum was deprived of the opportunity of showing love and compassion for the injured Stingley, and Stingley was never given a chance to forgive Tatum if he held any animosity toward him.

Only God knows what could have happened if the two were allowed to meet and share their feelings. We can only imagine the results of such a visit. Who knows? Maybe even the family would have been touched and their lives changed.

I believe God uses people to touch other people, but sometimes the enemy uses people to hinder God’s work.

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