There’s a new boy on the block who in a few years may well be up with the all-time Welsh football greats like Gareth Bale and Ryan Gibbs. To see Ben Woodburn in action when he came on in the 68th minute of Wales’ qualifier with Austria was amazing and raised the game to new and unexpected heights. From the edge of the penalty area 17-year-old Ben struck past Austrian goalkeeper Heinz Linder with a goal that had the Cardiff stadium unleashed with rapturous jubilation. In the 74th minute Ben scored one of the most memorable goals in Welsh football history and incredibly became the hero of the game. This young lad from Chester, who chose to play for Wales rather than England and whose potential for even greater success is now the toast of the nation.
We must never discount youth nor underestimate the potential and talent of the young in all aspects of life. The Bible tells of a young shepherd boy David whom God called from the hills of Bethlehem to defeat the giant Goliath and to be the King of a nation from whose ancestry would come the Saviour of the world. When a young boy offered his picnic of five loaves and two fish to the disciples of Jesus they were just about to turn him away when Andrew, a little more discerning that the others took him to Jesus who delighted in his willingness to share what he had and five thousand were fed that day.
The joy of faith is to know we are God’s children. It follows then that the time we have is God’s gift to us and we are encouraged to use such time well from our earliest days to the very autumn of our years. The Bible says that there is a time for every purpose under heaven and we are challenged through the teaching of Jesus find his purpose in our own lives and so to help and support those who may be struggling. It was George Bernard Shaw who once said that youth was wasted on the young. That may be because with the passing of the years we would often love to regain the youthful vitality of years long passed. There is, however, an even greater encouragement because God’s love, strength and grace is, as the Bible says, new every morning, refreshing and inspiring us with new hope and strength for all the challenges of the day. Well done Ben!