“Touchdown, Auburn!” is easily one of my favorite phrases to hear and repeat. Over the past two years, I’ve enjoyed it many times thanks in great part to senior quarterback Nick Marshall.
Nick’s success was possible, in some measure, because of his size, abilities and hard work. But a lot of athletes have those same qualities. What set him apart was his ability to read defenses and then run the play that gave his team the best chance at positive results. I heard him say after many winning efforts, “We just took what the defense gave us.” I love that because it means he had learned enough about the defensive side of the game to know there would always be a place on the field left open. Once he recognized that spot, executing the play became a lot easier. As a result, he’s one of the top quarterbacks to ever play at Auburn.
You’re probably familiar with the Bible verse in I Corinthians 10:13 that says,
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
I think we can all apply that strategy to our own decisions and “just take what the defense gives us.” It’s easy to think of some obvious temptations that would probably get us into big trouble. But, let’s ratchet our thoughts down a notch and look at a temptation that’s maybe a little less obvious. Let’s think about the temptation to become discouraged to the point of giving up on something worthwhile. Why not look closely and see what the defense is giving you?
Since today happens to be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, let’s look at what he did to make such a difference. The odds looked formidable for a century, and there was enough evidence in his day to discourage anyone. But, he knew he had the right of free speech and he knew he had God-given abilities to lead and inspire people. So, in a sense, he took what the defense gave him and ran with it. Aren’t we glad he did?
Somebody figured out what his defense was giving us and found a way to get to Osama bin Laden a few years ago.
Captain Chesley Sullenberger saw past imminent catastrophe when a bird strike caused his plane to lose its engines just after takeoff over New York City. Then he recognized what the defense was giving him, and he found the Hudson River and saved the lives of every passenger on board.
You and I will be tempted to become discouraged and give up from time to time as long as we are attempting to accomplish something worthwhile. It might come quickly and without warning. It might be a long battle spread over months or years. It could even mean having to reassess and start over at something. Whatever “it” is at the time, take a serious look at the “defense” and find what it’s giving you. Then go for it, knowing you have shifted the odds in your favor.
It sure worked for Nick Marshall!