When our favorite football team fumbles the game away or our hometown basketball squad bobbles the ball, it’s in our job description as fans to complain. We demand excellence from the teams we follow and spend our hard-earned money on.
With 24-hour sports television and radio, plus endless chatter on the Internet, discussion and debate over our teams and players never end. If our team isn’t leading the league, questions arise. Someone needs to be blamed for the way the team is playing. The easiest target is usually the coach.
The coach is supposed to be in charge. He’s the leader of the team. If the quarterback isn’t playing well, or the defense is struggling or the team just happens to lose a hard-fought game against an evenly matched opponent, it must be the coach’s fault.
Coaches generally have a pretty short leash in professional and collegiate sports. When a team strings together a streak of losses, fans call in to the radio or post on message boards crying three familiar words: “Fire the coach!” After all, someone has to take the blame. Someone has to be offered as a sacrifice for all the team’s wrongs.
What happens, then, when things go wrong in our own lives? More often than not we live our days like we are the head coach, calling all our own plays without consulting anyone else. If we are calling the shots, who is there to blame besides ourselves? Perhaps blaming God seems like a viable option. After all, isn’t He the ultimate coach in charge of our lives? Shouldn’t He be doing a better job of making sure our lives don’t veer off course?
It’s hard to blame God, though, when we don’t spend time in prayer. When we don’t come to the huddle looking for His play call, we have no business blaming Him when things don’t go right.
No one really likes to ask for help or advice. We all like to think we’re smart enough to do things on our own. Yet Jesus had no shame in seeking the counsel of His father God.
Jesus taught a great lesson in humility every time he broke away from his disciples to pray. He was known to steal away during the mornings and free moments of his days to spend time alone in prayer with God. Though he was one with God, Jesus did not presume himself to be above the power of prayer. He did not call his own shots.
Rarely is there a day when the plans we make play out the way we envisioned. But when we place ourselves in charge of our lives, we have no one else to blame when things go wrong. If we want to see things change, we must “fire the coach” and seek a better option.
Thankfully, there is a better option available to us. There is a God who longs to be constantly in contact with us, who has a better set of plans for us. If only we would seek Him.
When we call our own plays, we have ourselves to blame when we fumble. Let go of the playbook; listen to God’s audibles.
ALEX DORIOT IS THE DIRECTOR OF STUDENT MINISTRIES AT THE HILL BAPTIST CHURCH OF AUGUSTA.