Don’t Ever Give Up
A team “fighting for their life” can sometimes look like a frantic beetle that has been overturned, struggling to get right side up. The beetle will battle to turn over quickly knowing that at any moment it could be over. That will to keep fighting is necessary to stay alive in playoff competition. Tonight I am going to share with you about a man in scripture who, in a sense, kept us all alive.
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-8 ESV)
God was prepared to end mankind, but instead He saw Noah and told him to build an ark that would survive the coming flood He was bringing to purge the earth of its evil. Noah spent about a hundred years building this ark and it is debated whether or not it had ever rained on the earth before this time. It can be said with certainty that there never had been a flood of global proportions. Noah trusted God throughout this time of building even though he had never seen something like it before. (Hebrews 11:7 ESV) Many people were on the earth at the time of the flood, but only eight survived and lived to tell about it.
The Lord promised He would not send a flood of such epic proportions ever again, but there are times when people find themselves clinging to life. In 1970, three astronauts took off to go to the moon in what was known as the Apollo 13 mission. During the flight, an oxygen tank burst severely crippling the vessel. This incident made a moon landing unsafe but also jeopardized the life of the crew members and a safe return home. One problem after another kept coming up from shortage of potable water, to limited power, loss of cabin heat, and a need to fix the carbon dioxide removal system. The astronauts could have asked why God allowed all of this to happen to them, but they kept working the next step in the process and eventually through perseverance, were able to make it home safely.
Not everything is life and death, we use sports metaphors that imply this but we know that there is a difference between winning and living, and losing and dying. We do work to keep our hope and dreams alive through our athletic endeavors. If you want to be inspired before a game, read up on The V Foundation comeback player of the year award winners, there are some incredible stories. I want to share with you about the winner from 2006. Grant Dykstra grew up on a farm in Everson, Washington. When he was two, playing with his siblings, his coat got caught in a grain auger and pulled him into the machine. His arm was caught and mangled; it took 90 minutes for his dad, grandfather, and paramedics to dismantle the machine. Doctors suggested amputation and stated that Grant would not regain use of his right arm. His parents decided against that path and waited to see what he could do. Many surgeries and years later, his right arm was five inches shorter than his left arm and he still had limited use of his right hand. He had taught himself how to be a left hander and his game continued to progress. Grant was always playing basketball, doing what others said he could not, and finding a way to get it done. By the time Grant was a senior in college at Western Washington University, he was an All-American averaging 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals a game. He was the all-time leading scorer at WWU. Grant doesn’t see what he accomplished as extraordinary but he feels his story is an example of never giving up.
The V Foundation award is given in the spirit of Jim Valvano who gave a speech at the 1993 ESPY awards while battling cancer. His message was, “Never give up, don’t ever give up!” God didn’t give up on people, the astronauts refused to give up on getting home, and Grant Dykstra would not give up on his dream to play basketball at a very high level. Whatever your dreams are, winning a national championship, graduating from college, owning your own business, whatever it might be, don’t ever give up.
For an article on Grant’s story, click here: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/2005-1-09-dykstra_x.htm