Faith, it’s a beautiful thing. Literally. And to me it has so many meanings. First of all, it’s my Father, in heaven, the same one that lives in me, the same one who attends to my soul, speaks to me, carries me and loves me, unconditionally.
I work in the sports industry and my career is very public. There are always people watching, reading, and looking at my life. I can’t tell you how many times over the span of my career that I’ve been told I would be better served to keep my dogma, or faith, to myself. But to me it’s not an option. How can I keep quiet about a Savior who redeemed a wretch like me? And I’m serious when I say that—Jesus saved me from myself. And here’s this: ultimately, I don’t want the job that doesn’t hire me because my faith. I know God will open doors that no man can, and He will shut the ones that don’t serve His ultimate purpose (for me to be His hands and feet).
Faith is also an attitude and a way of life for me. I live in faith. I stand in faith. I give in faith. I know that GOD is for me, and is working behind the scenes to direct my steps, orchestrate meetings, and plan amazing and wonderful things for my life (Jeremiah 29:11). I have experienced times in my life where I felt like Job, where I cried out to GOD from the fetal position, but I knew that HE was working, even then. And even though I couldn’t feel Him in that moment, I knew that I would beat whatever I was facing. I knew that I was, and am, an overcomer. That’s an attitude of faith right there.
I have a phrase that I like to share when I speak to groups, it’s called fingernail faith. This is when you are holding on by the quicks of your fingernails, but you know that GOD will take care of you. The bills are due, the house payment is late, you lost your job, a loved one is sick, etc, etc. As TD Jakes likes to call it, “pressed-down, shaken-up, crazy faith.” Now this doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us, because that’s life, but to me it simply means my GOD is for me and will never forsake me, and ultimately, He is all I need. But I know this: God doesn’t respond to fear. He responds to faith.
Crazy, fingernail faith.
Lastly, I find faith in the faces of the people I am blessed to meet every single day. It’s living and breathing, acting-out, moving and loving. It’s the young woman I met recently who had only one leg and no hands at the end of her arms, but that girl squeezes more out of every moment of life than half of us do in a lifetime. It’s the blind and budding Sportscaster I coach who can literally feel the game (he puts Rain Man to shame with stats and facts). He has faith that, despite his perceived limitations, he will have a career in the sports industry. It’s the two young women, Corbyn Wile and Kayla Perry, who have rare and incurable type of pediatric cancer, but are winning at life, facing every day with a brave spirit and desire to leave the world better than they found it. It’s their love for Auburn and Alabama, and their bucket lists: to go to college like other kids their age. That’s faith, living, walking and talking.
It’s in the coaches that I cover; they embody it. They have to. They have faith that everything they taught the boys in the dog days of summer and spring will pay off in those few glorious days in the fall. (Because we all know championships are won before the season actually starts.) And as next month marks the one-year anniversary of climbing Kilimanjaro for my friend, Kevin Turner (of Alabama, Patriots and Eagles), who is bravely facing ALS each day, I am reminded that Kevin is faith. He shows it every single day with humor and a smile, thumbing his nose in the face of that insidious disease. And each step we took up that 19,341-foot behemoth was made in faith—faith that someday, somewhere someone would come down off the mountain of ALS. That someone would summit and say, “I beat it.” And maybe just maybe, our small, and collective, steps up that mountain, and funds-raised, will have an impact on that some day.
I have faith in that. 78