Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Just win the game!

If you’ve been watching T.V. at all the past two days, you’ve seen the coverage of Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware breaking his leg.
Breaking. I don’t know if that word covers it. I mean, I didn’t see it happen, but if network television stops showing the replay because of how gruesome a headlining story is, you know that it must be awful.
Anyway, trumping the horrendous nature of the injury turned out to be this young player’s response to what happened. As reported by his coach, Rick Pitino, Ware’s parting words as they carted him off the court were, “Just win the game. I’m fine. Just win the game.”
And they did.
Twenty-four hours later, Ware already underwent successful surgery and was up hobbling around on crutches. News is, he’ll travel with his team to the Final Four game in Atlanta this weekend.
I’ve seen Facebook posts hailing Ware as their new hero.
Mostly, I agree with all of this – depending on how you define hero. But I’ll let that slide.
It all got me thinking…
As Christians, when we encounter a devastating injury – to our bodies, minds, souls, or hearts – are we as willing as Kevin Ware to see the bigger picture even in the midst of obvious agony?
How dare I make such a comparison, right? I mean, I haven’t experienced it all. I haven’t experienced half of the heartache I know some of my friends endure even as I write. I get that. 
Besides, they’re predicting Kevin Ware to be back next season! His life isn’t over…
Hold up, though. He did not know that when he said those words – just win the game. As far as he knew, he might never play again, or even walk again. Try to imagine the terrible things that must’ve been barreling through his mind. Still, he said what he said, and he meant it.
This is not to negate the gruesomeness of any life event. Whatever it might be – possible career-ending broken leg to lost loved one to keen betrayal or abandonment – the experience itself is absolutely terrible. No question.
Though life is influenced and directed by these terrible events – what would Ware be thinking if his diagnosis had been any different?? -  the goal is still to win the game. Or… in our case… the race as the Apostle Paul described it in Phil. 3 (CLICK HERE to read). The goal is to keep faith until the finish line.
That’s why using the ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ argument is not a good excuse for allowing faith to flag. Where would the Louisville basketball team be if they thought that way? If Ware had thought that way? Well, chances are they wouldn’t be in the Final Four.
If we can laud Kevin Ware for his selfless cheering his team on to victory in light of his horrible circumstances, why can’t we believe in the faith that praises God in every circumstance?
Kevin Ware did not win the game himself, obviously, because he wasn’t able to finish it. But he remains part of the team that pulled together to win largely because of his enthusiasm and insistence that they do so. Likewise, horrible events in our lives may sideline us, but that’s why it’s important to have a team to carry you through to victory. Whether you’re sitting on the bench, on the DL or swishing every shot you take, keep the faith, play as a team, don’t let anything keep you from the win.
Happy Wednesday, Dry Ground friends! God is great and God is good. Be encouraged!
(photo by