In the mind of my husband, it is good to be immersed in all things Carolina basketball. For those of you not from North Carolina, that’s UNC basketball. It is true confessions time. I don’t always engage fully while listening to his analysis or to that of the commentators or to the interviews with players and coaches. But on April 6, in a press conference, UNC’s new head basketball coach, Hubert Davis, had my full attention.
Asked to talk about his faith, Coach Davis said it was the most important thing to him. “My faith and foundation are firmly in my relationship with Jesus. He just is. And my mother was a Christian and she begged me to go to church growing up and I didn’t want to go. I wasn’t interested in it. My mom used to always say that Jesus had a plan for me, plans for a hope and a future, plans not to harm you, plans to prosper you. Jeremiah 29:11. At the time growing up, I didn’t understand it and I didn’t listen to it. When my mom passed away two days before my junior year of high school, I grew a tremendous hate towards God. And for the two years that I was here at Carolina, the same way. And the reason being is I just couldn’t understand all the things that my mom was telling me about Jesus loving me and having a plan and purpose for me. And I didn’t understand any reason why he would take away my mom.
“I’m 50 years old and I miss her more now than I did when I was 16 when she passed away. She didn’t get to see me run out of that tunnel. She didn’t get to see me play here. She didn’t get to see me get drafted. She didn’t get to see me play in the NBA. She didn’t meet my wife. She wasn’t at our wedding. She hasn’t been with my kids. She’s not here today.
“One of the things that Coach Smith used to do was to make all the freshmen go to church. And as I went to church, only because Coach Smith and Coach Guthridge encouraged me to go to church, I started to understand what my mom was talking about. I started to understand the sacrifice that Jesus has made for me and how much he loves me. And in two days before my junior year of college, I became a Christian. And instead of being upset that Jesus has taken away the most beautiful person in my life, in my mom, I’m thankful every day that he gave me the best mom that I could ever have for 16 years. She’s here. She’s here every day, the way I treat my wife. She’s here every day, the way I try to treat my children. And so my faith in Christ is the foundation of who I am. And when I say that I will walk this path in my own shoes and my personality, my own shoes in my personality is my faith.”
Parents, God is at work in the lives of your children, even if it’s not so obvious now. Coaches, the impact you have on your athletes can be life-changing. People of prayer, God is able to do far more than we ask or imagine. “For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith — that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or imagine, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)