Bears team chaplain tells of keeping the faith to Arlington Heights crowd

  • Pastor Jonathan Wilkins, team chaplain for the Chicago Bears and leadership development manager at CBRE, delivered the keynote address Thursday at the Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Arlington Heights.

      Pastor Jonathan Wilkins, team chaplain for the Chicago Bears and leadership development manager at CBRE, delivered the keynote address Thursday at the Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes speaks Thursday during the Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. The hourlong program included prayers, scripture readings and musical performances.

      Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes speaks Thursday during the Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. The hourlong program included prayers, scripture readings and musical performances. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Former Arlington Heights Trustee Tom Stengren bows his head during the invocation of the Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast on Thursday. The annual event was attended by religious and community leaders.

      Former Arlington Heights Trustee Tom Stengren bows his head during the invocation of the Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast on Thursday. The annual event was attended by religious and community leaders. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The Northwest Community Healthcare Choir, including Rachel Rosanova, left, and Carolyn Beck, right, sing Thursday during the Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel.

      The Northwest Community Healthcare Choir, including Rachel Rosanova, left, and Carolyn Beck, right, sing Thursday during the Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Arlington Heights Police Chief Nick Pecora, right, shakes hands with Mayor Tom Hayes after giving the second scripture reading during the Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast Thursday.

      Arlington Heights Police Chief Nick Pecora, right, shakes hands with Mayor Tom Hayes after giving the second scripture reading during the Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast Thursday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/6/2020 4:17 PM

As team chaplain for the Chicago Bears for the past five years, Pastor Jonathan Wilkins says people often tell him: "Your prayers aren't being answered."

His response?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Your faith is wavering."

Wilkins imparted the power of prayer to an early morning gathering of religious and community leaders Thursday during the 33rd annual Arlington Heights Mayor's Community Prayer Breakfast.

"Prayer provides strength, it provides hope, and it grants us the love we need through the transitions of life," said Wilkins, who delivered the event's keynote address at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel on Algonquin Road.

The local event, which also included prayers, scripture readings and musical performances by the Northwest Community Healthcare Choir, started as an offshoot to the national breakfast that began in 1953 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Wilkins, also a leadership development manager at real estate company CBRE, spoke about how his faith helps him get through life's transitions, which he compared to the change between one season and another, or mandatory prerequisite courses in college.

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"As I've learned, God will enroll you in classes you did not sign up for," he said. "And yet as our ultimate teacher, God requires for us to endure certain seasons that can be immensely challenging."

Take, for example, what Wilkins says he experienced June 13, 2019.

It was the day he and his family was laying his father to rest after he had terminal cancer. Later that day, Wilkins' wife gave birth to the couple's baby boy.

"I'd like to think that both my natural father and my heavenly father had a hand in this happening," Wilkins said. "We don't always know why certain things happen, but you talk about full circle. The range and the rhythm of emotions vacillating between a deep and sincere sadness, to complete uncontrollable joy."

"Through the transitions, God is good, no matter how difficult life is."

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