Life Lessons Learned from Charles Dickens, Basketball and the Bible
Sports, like life, can at times seem like a Charles Dickens novel. For college basketball this week, “It’s been the best of times and the worst of times.”
There’s arguably no more intriguing spectacle—in all of sports—than the NCAA Tournament, the stage that pits the David(s) versus the Goliath(s), with all schools vying for the chance at a national championship. Whether it’s the hope of spring after the doldrums of winter or the inner-Cinderella that simply wants to dance, March has a way of awakening the dreamer in us all, fans and non-fans alike. However, scandals surrounding officiating and coaching this week have given the sport a bit of a black eye, filled with controversy and criticism.
And so it begs the question for all those involved, “What do they do now?” Or in a version closer to home, “What do you do when life knocks you down?”
Now sometimes we are our own worst enemies, bringing about personal demise. For those moments, you must acknowledge fault, take personal responsibility, seek grace and forgiveness, and simply have the courage to get back up again. But then there are other times…more difficult times where, like Arizona coach Sean Miller, you simply don’t quite understand “why.” You didn't personally do anything wrong—in fact, you may be right—yet circumstances outside your control deal you a bad set of cards in the form of: unexpected job loss, terminal illness, the loss of a loved one, difficulty conceiving a child, being cut from a team, bankruptcy, unanswered prayers, etc. How do you deal with THOSE times? Sure there are clichés that may channel some initial fortitude and stamina, but I want to look to faith and Scripture here instead.
Consider for a moment the difficult verse of Matthew 11:6, “Blessed is the one who is not easily offended by Me.” The premise is this: John the Baptist is having doubts about Christ being the Messiah; he is wrongly imprisoned, treated poorly, hearing miracle accounts for everyone BUT himself, and hoping to be released from jail. However, the response from Christ in Matthew 11:6 is far from comforting for John. Said another way, Jesus' response is something like this: “I am everything you think I am, and I can do everything you believe I can do, BUT I’m not going to free you from prison, as my plans for you are much different than you expect. But don’t worry; you’ll be blessed with so much more if you simply love and trust Me even unto death.” That’s heavy stuff there. Unfortunately, there’s not enough space and time to unwrap that verse further in this blog, and truthfully, it is simply a hard concept to wrap my brain around.
4. April 2013 10:09
Maybe you’re going through a struggle much like John the Baptist and you’re left with more questions than answers. The encouragement for you is this: All questions don’t have answers this side of Heaven. Maybe God is completing a celestial purpose in your life, much like He did in John’s. Through it all, trust God that He sees all, knows all, and rewards all who are faithful in spite of their suffering.
By Matt Dunn
(The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in this editorial are those of the author, Matt Dunn, and do not necessarily represent those of Athletes in Action or any other individuals with AIA)