Recently, the Juventus and Italian national goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon set a new record when he went 947 minutes without conceding a goal. Anybody familiar with the game of soccer or who has played it knows what a phenomenal achievement this is. It is made even greater by that fact that Gigi (as he is affectionately known) at the age of 38 is no spring chicken. After the game, he penned a love letter to the goal he has guarded for more than a quarter of a century. Here is the letter:
“I was 12 when I turned my back on you, denying my past to guarantee you a safe future. I went with my heart; I went with my instinct. But the day I stopped looking you in the face is also the day that I started to love you. To protect you. To be your first and last line of defense. I promised myself that I would do everything not to see your face again. Or that I would do it as little as possible. It was painful every time I did, turning round and realizing I had disappointed you. Again and again. We have always been opposites yet we are complementary, like the sun and the moon. Forced to live side by side without being able to touch. Team-mates for life, a life in which we are denied all contact. More than 25 years ago I made my vow: I swore to protect you. Look after you. A shield against all your enemies. I’ve always thought about your welfare, putting it first even ahead of my own. I was 12 when I turned my back on my goal. And I will keep doing it as long as my legs, my head and my heart will allow.”
Beautiful, isn’t it? The line that stuck out to me was, “I swore to protect you. Look after you. A shield against all your enemies.” Such an emotional letter written to an inanimate object! If the recipient of the letter were “the heart” instead of “the goal”—it would read very differently!
In the Book of Proverbs we are told, “Above all else, guard your heart, for out of it spring the issues of life.” The school my children attend thought this Scripture so important that they declared it the theme for the entire school year. The headmaster’s desire is for the children to embrace the concept of guarding their hearts against things that come to oppose them.
We would do well to guard our heart like a goalkeeper protects his goal. Nothing causes a goalkeeper more pain and disappointment than picking the ball out of the back of the net. It’s one of the most horrific feelings in soccer. It carries with it a tinge of embarrassment and shame for failing to protect the thing that is most important in the game.
Among a generation that has no regard for what is bombarding and damaging their supple hearts, we must train up our children through prayer and the Word of God to guard their hearts. The enemy will attack them in this crucial spot. 1 Peter 5:8 advises us to, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” As we are training up our children, we must coach them to be like a goalkeeper and guard that which is the most precious to them.
Look up the following verses as a family and choose one to display in a meaningful place in your home and memorize together.
**This was a guest blog post from the OneHope Blog. To see more excellent posts on raising kids to be strong in the Word of God, visit; Experience the Story