• Jason E. Fort

Dabo, Garth, and Suffering in this World


"I told them, 'We give you scholarships, we give you stipends and meals and place to live. We give you nice uniforms. I can't give you guts and I can't give you heart.' And tonight, it was BYOG: bring your own guts," Dabo Swinney told reporters after a hard fought win in a torrential down-pour, against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Now I know, I will be the first to admit, I am a self-professed biased Clemson fan, who likes to see the world through orange colored glasses often. But if you read that quote from my favorite coach, and break it down...it speaks volumes! And as I thought back to those words spoken by the exuberant football coach, I thought of how many people out there in the world refuse to accept the Word of God, simply because they don't understand how a loving God could just let us all go through this world and have to put up with so much suffering. When it comes right down to it, a football coach is one who gets his players to go through high school and college life, and teaches them lessons along the way. They go out there and have to take on the cuts, the bruises, the tackles, the slobber-knocking hits, the pain and suffering of workouts, the cruddy weather, the coaches yelling in their faces...you know - stuff that me, personally, never volunteered to do growing up. But I have seen others who have, and I have seen how they are better for it. Now, does this not reflect life...as a Christian? Here is the kicker - you don't have to play for that coach. You can try to play football somewhere else. You can choose not to play football at all. But if you decide to follow that coach...where is he trying to lead you? Now look at this from a Christian perspective. God gives us the perfect life coach in Jesus Christ. Christ came to Earth and taught us everything we need to know in life. He taught us how to pray, what to believe, and what is meant to be. And He even warned us of the suffering to come, just as plenty of football coaches, such as Dabo, will tell his players what to expect - if they want to win the prize. But just like those football coaches, nobody is forcing anyone to follow Christ. Jesus shows the way, but you don't have to put on His uniform; you can choose not to follow Him. You have to BYOG - Bring Your Own Guts, to follow Him and see where it will take you. All this got me thinking even more when I was on my way home from church, and a Garth Brooks song played on my CD. These words, of a father raising a child, jumped out at me from the song: "You can cry for them; live and die for them; you can help them find their wings, but you can't fly for them. 'Cause if they're not free to fall - then they're not free at all, and though you just can't bear the thought of letting go... "You pick'em up....dust'em off...and send'em on down the road." How much like a father is a good coach? How much is God like the ultimate Father? Does He not weep for us? Read the New Testament...He has wept. Christ lived and died for Us, and Lives again! And if you turn to God and ask for help, He can help you find your wings to take off for Him to do anything you can imagine. But He still has to let us fall. He still has to let us fail - so we can learn to pick ourselves back up again. And what does it take to get back up and keep going? Guts. Isiaiah 25:8 says - He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. This is a great Old Testament description of where the ultimate life coach says He will take us. But if you are going to follow the ultimate Father; the Ultimate coach - you have to be willing to suit up. I may not have suited up for a real football coach like some of my best friends - or like my own little brother. But I am willing to suit up now - and follow the Lord. So BYOG people...let's follow Jesus. And get your Bibles - your playbooks if you will... And let's go to work :)