“Get up,” Coach called to Brock, the quarterback moping dejected on the sidelines of practice. “I want to see you do the Death Crawl again, only I want to see your absolute best.”
“You want me to go to the 30 yard line?” Brock asked.
“I want you to go to the 50.”
Brock considered the challenge. “Okay,” he said.
“One more thing,” the coach said. “I want you to do it blindfolded. I won’t have you stopping at a certain point if you can go further.”
With a blindfold tied around his eyes and 140 lb. teammate balanced on his back, Brock began to crawl across the field. His limbs shook as he found his balance.
“That’s a good start,” the coach chanted, “give me your best. Your very best.”
“Am I at the 20 yet?” Brock panted.
“Forget about the 20, you keep going until you have nothing left! Keep going, Brock.”
Brock’s breathing grew harder. The rest of the team, watching from the sidelines, stood, dumbstruck, as he struggled across the green, still balancing Jeremy on his back. Brock panicked as his arms wobbled beneath him. The coach’s voice rang clear, never stopping, never taking a moment to breathe.
“Keep going!” He called, “You give me your very best. Your very best!”
“It hurts!” Brocked called out.
“I know it hurts, you keep driving!”
“I’m out of strength!”
“Then you negotiate with your body to find more strength, but I know you’ve got more in you. Keep driving!”
Brock continued to crawl, his body threatening at every moment to give out. His feet slipped on the grass, but he kept moving toward his coach’s voice.
“It burns!” He cried.
“Than let it burn!” Coach came back.
“It’s too hard!”
“It’s not too hard! You give me your best! Don’t quit! You don’t quit on me! No! You keep going! 10 more steps, keep going!”
Brock moved forward, pushing his body to the limit, knowing at any moment he would collapse. His voice failed him. All he could do was keep driving.
“5 more steps! 5 more steps!” His coach screamed.
Brock counted the steps.
Four. Three. Two. One.
He dropped on the green, adrenaline pumping through his body. His arms shook. He buried his face in the grass and cried. 140 lb. Jeremy rolled off to let Brock breathe.
“It’s got to be the 50. Got to be the 50,” he sobbed in desperation.
The coached laid on the green in front of him. He took the blindfold off of Brock’s eyes.
“Look up, Brock.” He said. “You’re in the End Zone.”
Later in the season–it was a fight for the state title between the Eagles and the Giants, a team that had stood undefeated for 3 seasons running.
During the fourth quarter, the score was 23-14 in favor of the Giants and Brock could feel the burn. His teammates’ shoulders sagged with defeat. They were desperate for some points on the board. The Giants towered menacingly like a brick wall, allowing nothing through.
“Coach, let me rest. I can’t go much more,” Brock said during a timeout, sweat stinging his eyes.
“Brock, I need you on that field. You have got to stay in the game,” Coach said, sending him back into the game.
The game played on. 23-21. Things still weren’t looking good. The Eagles only needed a few more points to claim a lead.
“Coach,” Brock called again, breathing so hard he was almost unable to form words. “I’m done. Someone else has got to lead.”
“Brock, this is when it matters most! I know you’re tired! It’s easy to lead when you’re strong, but now is when you’re needed. It’s right now. Can you give me four more downs? I just need four more downs!”
“Four more,” Brock said.
With a sudden burst of energy, Brock stepped onto the field and directed his teammates.
“Stone wall!” He cried, grouping the men together. “Stone wall. Stone wall!”
Empowered by their tireless leader, the Eagles found their strength and formed a wall the Giants couldn’t breach. With two seconds left on the clock, they took their chance.
A 51 yard field goal. The game was theirs.
When you accepted Christ as your savior, you enlisted in His spiritual army.
Do you realize how hard soldiers train?
A good leader doesn’t forget about his cadets. He doesn’t force them to train because he hates them. On the contrary–he is the one crawling with them in the dirt, making himself hoarse screaming encouragements into their ears. A good leader will lead you through hell and back again because he loves you. He knows what’s best.
Some day God is going to call on you to fight. You are his first choice!
But imagine for a moment if God threw you into a firefight without a gun. What if he pushed you out of the plane, but you couldn’t open your chute? What would happen?
Like it or not, life is a spiritual battlefield. You can’t choose to stay out of the fray, but you can control your actions within. Will you choose to spend a few hard months in proper training, learning from a coach who only has your best interests at heart? Or would you rather ignore Him and get caught in a firefight with no more protection than the shirt on your back and the shoes on your feet?
I know it hurts now more than it’s ever hurt in your life. I realize you can’t see God because of the blindfold on your eyes, but I assure you, he has not forsaken you. He’s crawling next to you, urging you on. You only have 10 more steps.
I won’t be so bold as to say God caused something bad to happen for the sole purpose of training you up. I don’t why this is happening. But I do know He is crawling with you through it all. 5 more steps.
So keep crawling.
God wouldn’t ask unless he knew you had it in you.
(The scene described above is from the movie, Facing the Giants. Haven’t seen the thing in years, but it popped into my head one day. That scene always makes me cry.
Thought I’d give credit where credit is due.)