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Zamboni driver wins NHL debut as emergency goaltender: Being ‘intrepid enough’ to be used for greatness

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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A Zamboni is a machine used to resurface the ice on hockey rinks. Dave Ayres, age forty-two, drives a Zamboni for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. He is a kidney transplant recipient and a two-time survivor of skin cancer.

Now he can add to his resume: game-winning goaltender.

The Carolina Hurricanes were playing in Toronto Saturday evening. Both goaltenders went down to injuries. They put in a call to Ayres, who came in during the second period of a 6–1 game. He gave up two goals in the period but stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period. The Hurricanes won 6–3.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted: “I’m ready to make emergency goaltender and Zamboni driver David Ayres an honorary North Carolina citizen.” Ayres became the oldest goaltender (forty-two years, 194 days) in NHL history to win his regular-season debut.

Some of our greatest opportunities come when we least expect them.

Being ‘intrepid enough’ to be used for greatness

Moses was tending sheep in the wilderness when he was called to lead the nation of Israel from Egyptian slavery to the Promised Land. David was visiting his brothers when he heard Goliath’s boasts and chose to fight the giant. Peter and Andrew were casting nets into the Sea of Galilee when Jesus called them to fish for men. John was worshiping in exile on Patmos when he met the risen Christ.

It’s easy to adopt the cultural belief that we are what we do today. But God sees what he can do with us tomorrow. As the saying goes, he does not call the equipped—he equips the called.

Jesus turned a leper into a missionary (Luke 8:39) and a Samaritan woman into an emissary for the gospel (John 4:28–29). He saw in a feared persecutor of the church a global apostle for his kingdom (Acts 9:15).

The key to being used is being available to be used. Is there anywhere the Lord cannot send you? Anyone he cannot ask you to reach with his love? Any price he cannot ask you to pay?

A. A. Hodge: “It is easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition, to stand up for it.”

Will you be “intrepid enough” today?

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