Here we are...It is that time of year again. In the south this day is as big as Christmas...almost. The first weekend of college football. To kick off this weekend, Facing the Giants was on television last night. I have not watched that movie in a while and frankly, the first time I watched it, I was in a very different place than I am now. I was deep, deep down in grief the first time I watched it. Last night I was so, so tired and then Jamie found that movie. As tired as I was, I couldn't not watch it again.
One of the single most profound scenes in that movie spoke volumes to me last night. Coach Taylor is down and out. His team is down and out. His assistants are down and out. The team parents are down and out. Everyone is hopeless. They know their team stinks. They know they are not capable of winning. They know even God can not use them. They are in the valley and their spirits are broken. They know there really is just no point whatsoever in trying. Why bother? It will only end in disappointment.
Don't you ever just get tired of disappointment? I do. I've been here. I've been ready to throw in the towel.
So one day at practice, the team leader said what no one else on the team was willing to admit even though they all felt it. Brock looked at Coach Taylor and said, "What's the point? Were going to get beat anyway." Talk about turning points...This was it. Coach Taylor got Brock up and challenged him to prove his leadership skills. After a long grueling practice he challenged him to go even further and do the death crawl. Now this is basically where you are back to back with another teammate. They are on your back and you are carrying them. The hard part is that you have to carry them using your arms and legs. The majority of the weight is on your arms. Coach Taylor wanted Brock to go 50 yards doing this. Brock tried to negotiate to 30 but settled for 50. He dejectedly told the coach that he could do it without the extra weight, but did not think he could get there with his teammate. Coach Taylor tells him he thinks he can. He believes in him. Then he throws another curve at Brock. Really, another curve? How much more is he going to ask of this boy? After all he is tired from normal practice and now his coach wants more from him. Coach Taylor KNOWS he can do it. So, he blindfolds Brock, tells his teammate to get on his back and off Brock goes. Death crawling. It's hard...It hurts...It is not what he wants to be doing...He's pushing on...It burns...His arms want to give out. Coach Taylor is right there, urging him on. He is yelling and screaming at him to give him more...You can do it. Give me more...more...more. Keep going. Don't give up. You can do this...dig...push yourself...don't give up. In his ear the entire time. Lord, it hurts...I can't...yes you can...just a few more yards...I'm not going to make it...this is too hard...why am I having to do this...Keep going...don't give up...your almost there...NO, don't quit...do it for the team...do it for me...do it for yourself...you can't stop...I have to stop...it hurts...I can't take the pain...it hurts too much...I know it hurts but you have to finish...you have to go on...just a few more steps...your almost there...three more steps...two more...one...your there. You can stop. Take your blindfold off. And when Brock took off his blindfold...He had death crawled the entire football field. His teammates were in awe. They could not believe what he had just done.
It's a lot like that for us you know. When life hurts too much, when we are doing the death crawl...when God throws us a challenge and curve ball to boot. He is there the entire time. He never leaves us. He pushes us, carries us, makes us move forward and with God by our side...we go so much further than we ever could have imagined.
Coach Taylor needed a team leader. Someone to push the team forward. But he had to show Brock that he had it in him to press on when he didn't think he could. He had to make Brock prove himself to himself. He didn't need to prove it to the team. He just needed to know for himself that he could do it.
I had my eyes closed when this scene began but before it was over I was completely awake and drawn in. I wanted so badly for Brock to run the death crawl to the end. But then I realized that sometimes you have to crawl. It's slower and prolongs the pain...but you have to crawl. Had he ran, considering he was already tired, he would have at the very least stumbled and more than likely fallen. He would have failed. So he took his time, endured the pain, accepted his coach's encouragement and won the challenge. I'd bet his first instinct was to get it over as quickly as possible, like taking bad tasting medicine.
I fully believe that there are times in our lives when we have to be still and know God. He whispers in a small still voice. But, I also believe that there are times in our lives that like Coach Taylor, God is yelling, screaming, pushing, pulling, He is in our ear loud and clear. There is no doubt He has our back. In the last eighteen months I have experience both of those. When I was doing the death crawl, I could hear Him as if He were right by my side. Then when I was on His back, I had to be very still to hear him.
Where are you right now? Can you hear him?
I'll leave you with my favorite quote from Facing the Giants.
Lord, when we win, we will praise you. When we lose, we will praise you.
Roll Tide and much love today,