An unlikely invite opened the door for me to spend this season with the Anderson Trojan football team. Coach Daniel Hunter asked me to serve as team chaplain. He wanted the team to see a man in their community invest time with them, without any expectation in return.
So, I attended practices, led a devotional each week, and was on the sideline for the games. If you know me, you know I loved this season with Coach Hunter, his staff and the team.
All of these great pictures provided by Philip Swann.
The Trojans were coming off a 1-9 record in 2017, and the seniors had seen their school post an 8-23 record, since they’ve been at Anderson. This was Daniel’s first year as head coach. He and his staff were focused on the mission of starting a new culture.
My role allowed me to just be with the team, to encourage them, laugh with them and cheer them on week after week. My goal was simple. I wanted to be sure they knew how God feels about each one of us. It was a crazy, great opportunity to share these simple truths with them:
- There is a God, and He isn’t out to get us
- In fact, He is for us!
- He cares about us & all the details of our lives
- He will come to us, in the midst of our mess, just as we are
- God loves each & every one of us
I had a front row seat to see a coaching staff turn a group of young men into a team. This 2018 Trojan team, with the help of their coaches, started a new culture. They competed in every game this season. They won 5 and lost 5, but they learned way more than can be measured in wins and losses.
Several times this season I heard Coach Hunter tell the team to “trust the process.” So many things are happening at once in a football game. It’s easy to be confused or overwhelmed. Over and over again, the coaches told the boys to simply “do your job.”
The team quit worrying about how they were going to beat teams they hadn’t beat before and they focused on blocking or tackling the one person in front of them. The game got smaller, and it wasn’t so overwhelming.
The same is true for us! We know God’s ways and thoughts are greater than our own, but we’re still prone to be anxious and worry about how all the details will come together. The good news is we can trust our Heavenly Father with our lives, our circumstances, and those we hold dear.
Like this team, we can trust the process:
- God is at work, in us and in our circumstances; “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” – Philippians 2:13
- We each have a significant role to play; “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” – 1 Corinthians 12:7
- He takes our little role and orchestrates something with greater purpose; “For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10
- Trust requires faith, and faith requires believing to see; “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:6
Like this team trusted Coach Hunter and his staff, we can trust our Heavenly Father. Our focus can become small as we love the person He brings before us. We don’t have to change the world, we only have to be faithful to the nudge the Lord gives us today.
Your circumstances may seem overwhelming. I saw this staff and team start a new culture. God can do new things in each one of our lives, however unlikely, if we will just trust Him and His process.