It was the biggest game of the season for our small town. In fact, ESPN was there to cover our high school football game between the Buccaneers and the Bison, nationally. Coming in with the state champion medal from 2012, the Buccaneers entered the Bison’s home field with assurance. They were lead by one of the most talked about running backs in the south, the crown jewel of the UT Vols’ 2014 recruiting class. They were prepared and ready, and although it was a close fight, the Bucs pulled off the win that afternoon, in front of a record-breaking crowd. And about that running back, well, despite sustaining a shoulder injury, he had three touchdowns and an interception.
Then, Monday morning following the big game the Tennessean reported:
Before his senior season, this young man was faced with a crucial decision. Having just been signed with the University of Tennessee, he had to decide if playing football his senior year was worth the risk of injury. What a choice to have to make. Who wants to take a chance on getting hurt before you begin your college football career? Then again, who wants to miss anything from your senior year of high school, especially helping your hometown team see another state championship title.
We have to set our preseason goals and make choices for the future but ultimately, the game time decisions are what faith is built on.
This amazing young man chose to support his Buccaneers. God had a little bit different idea. The biggest challenge, the real game, has just begun; it’s all about game time decisions, everyday, to do what’s right for the moment. God has given this young man the opportunity to strengthen his faith muscles, to lead by example, to condition his body, mind, and spirit, and to learn to “be still and wait” on God to lead him. I have no doubt that his true strength will shine brightly through all of this and UT will be getting an even better man next fall.
We all have preseason choices to make but because we’re simply not in control, we have even more game time decisions to make in life. The beauty of those last minute ones is that our instincts are working in overtime. Faith is almost tangible. God speaks to us through our thoughts and through signs all around us.
Faith is all we have and all we need!
I’ve learned to love my faith and learning to lean on my faith for last minute, down to the wire choices has made life exciting again.
Rick Warren said, “Life is a gift… Life is a test… Life is a temporary assignment….”
Everyday is game day.
I’ve learned that before I start to work or play or run or read or write or even take a nap, I wait for just a few minutes. “Is this where you want me?” I’m learning to ask God about everything and I do mean everything, even the silly little stuff. I’m learning that when I put my faith in Him for the silly little stuff, it grows into big, important stuff.
I’m learning that we don’t live in an all or nothing kind of world on the way to the big game. My life path doesn’t always run on one big superhighway where it’s smooth and fast and I always get where I want to go right on time. Eventually I’m going to be detoured and I’ll find myself on winding, short, sometimes “one way” streets where my cruise control will only get me into trouble. I have to be able to take the curves, keep one foot on the gas and one on the brake and never totally commit to either. In other words, I have to be ready for change.
I’m learning that with faith comes wisdom to pick the right road once I see the sign. And even when it turns out to be the wrong direction, and I’m running really late, my faith says, “You’ll find a “whoop around””. (that’s a southern u-turn).
I’m learning that my faith has to be tested for me to be fully alive. There’s just no way around it. Game time decisions come often and they come fast. And sometimes my choices flat out hurt me, but when I seek God’s face in every play, I find that whatever muscle was strained eventually begins to heal up with time and becomes a little stronger and a little more equipped to take on the next game time decision.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6