“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” – Psalm 107:1-2
With Coach Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers victory over No. 1 Alabama 44-16 this past Monday, Clemson ended the season with a 15-0 record, becoming the only team in college football history to go undefeated under the playoff system. But for Coach Swinney, this wasn’t the greatest joy in his life.
“For me, personally, joy comes from focusing on Jesus, others, then yourself.”
He had more to add after the game.
“it’s just simply the grace of the good Lord to allow us to experience something like this. All the credit, all the glory goes to the good Lord, No. 1, and No. 2, to these young people. When you get a young group of people that believe, are passionate, they love each other, they sacrifice, they’re committed to a single purpose, you better look out. Great things can happen, and that’s what you saw tonight.”
But Coach wasn’t through:
“It’s hard to survive and thrive in this world if you don’t have a spiritual foundation. For me, God has always, in my relationship with Christ, has given me hope and peace. … If there’s hope in the future, there’s power in the present to deal with whatever mess you’re dealing with in your life, (and) what Christ did for me, it gave me a hope and a belief beyond my circumstances.”
Like Coach Dabo, those of us who know Jesus Christ personally should want to tell people what Christ has done for them. And what is it that Christ has done for my sake? In our verse this week, King David praises the Lord for His goodness and mercy that he had personally experienced throughout his life. David admonishes us to speak up: “Let the redeemed of the Lord SAY SO.” Why does David think that Christians should be bold in telling others what the Lord has done for them? It’s in the remainder of verse 2: “Because He has redeemed you from the hand of the enemy.” This is what Coach meant when he said “in my relationship with Christ, God has given me hope and peace… in what Christ did for me (on the Cross).”
There is a bigger story behind Coach’s life that makes his public testimony so intellectually persuasive. As Coach said,
“Only God can do this, and that’s a FACT… only God can orchestrate this. No Hollywood producer can write it.”
What does Coach mean? Is he talking about more than just winning football games?
David French, in his article ‘Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney Shows How to Defeat Anti-Christian Scolds’, provides us with a great look into Coach Dabo’s background: “Few coaches have enjoyed a week of publicity quite like that of Clemson’s Dabo Swinney. As he prepares his Tigers to face Nick Saban and the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide, the media have showered him with positive coverage — all of it deserved.
His story truly is amazing. The product of a broken home and an alcoholic father, he was a teenager when his family lost their house to foreclosure. Swinney spent his senior year in high school moving from place to place. During his freshman year at Alabama (yes, he’s playing his alma mater), his mother came with him to campus. She had nowhere else to go. So at an age when most young men are enjoying the time of their lives, Swinney was rooming with his mom, sharing a bedroom in a tiny apartment with another student.
Despite the troubles at home, Swinney walked on to the Alabama football team and earned a scholarship by his junior year. He won a national championship as part of the 1992 team that shocked a seemingly invincible Miami in the Sugar Bowl; not long after, he began a coaching career that ultimately put him at the helm of one of college football’s most storied programs. And like many football players and coaches, Dabo Swinney is a devout and outspoken Christian.”
The secret to Coach’s success is exactly what he has been saying for years, only this time its front and center on national television. And Coach doesn’t think he’s believing in some imaginary friend or “God of the Gaps”. He said his faith in Jesus Christ is a fact. How can he see his relationship with Christ as a fact?
Because Jesus Christ has made Himself known personally in Coach’s life. Jesus promised this to anyone who would be willing to surrender their life to Him as their Lord and Savior: “You shall KNOW the truth. And the Truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32). And guess what that Truth is? Jesus again tells us:
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6).
Coach knows this as a fact, because Jesus Christ answered Coach’s plea to redeem him and “make him free.” Changed lives, and bold lives, like Coach Dabo Swinney, are very intellectually satisfying evidence for the reality of Jesus Christ. Just ask him.
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #329