Star QB Humbled, God Glorified
The Story: Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy recently talked with Austin Stone Community Church pastor of preaching and vision Matt Carter about the most disappointing game of his football career. His University of Texas Longhorns lost the 2009 BCS National Championship Game to the University of Alabama Crimson Tide after McCoy suffered a game-ending injury in the first half at the Rose Bowl.
The Background: During his senior year at Texas, McCoy finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting. McCoy led Texas to a quick start against Alabama and believed a solid game plan would lead the Longhorns to victory. But a crushing hit from Alabama defender Marcell Dareus, later taken in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, knocked McCoy out of the game. Dareus later returned an interception by McCoy's replacement for a touchdown and was named defensive Most Valuable Player in the game. McCoy, visibly distraught by the injury that prevented him from fulfilling a lifelong dream, nevertheless gave all glory to God in post-game interviews.
"I always give God the glory," McCoy said. "I never question why things happen the way they do. God is in control of my life. And I know that if nothing else I am standing on the Rock."
Why It Matters: We exalt our athletic heroes when they're winning and giving thanks to God. Linsanity and Tebowmania fill us with pride as we pray for God to protect the integrity of their witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. But sports humble even the most accomplished athletes, let alone the suddenly successful. Lin's New York Knicks have lost five straight. Tebow's general manager is recruiting a future Hall of Fame quarterback to take his starting job. McCoy's employer recently tried to trade up and draft his replacement. Injuries and age catch up with everyone. So what does Christian witness look like amid inevitable failure? McCoy's testimony to God's goodness even when your hopes have been dashed sends a powerfully counterintuitive message to a culture obsessed with building up and then tearing down celebrities. McCoy has wisely learned from the Lord's message to the apostle Paul: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).