Praise in Defeat
“…The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
-Job 1:21 (NIV)
After watching Texas quarterback Colt McCoy succeed for four years, not many would have predicted that his college career would end the way it did. Four years of preparation and hard work. (Five, if you count his time as a redshirt.) Four years of sacrifice and dedication. Four years of hoping and dreaming of hoisting the ultimate trophy. All of it came to one last shot at the national title. By the fifth play of the BCS title game, it was over. McCoy went down with a shoulder injury that took him out of the game he’d waited so long to play.
But if there ever was an example of faith and character, Colt McCoy displayed it that night. Try to imagine his disappointment and absolute helplessness as he stood on the sidelines watching his team compete without him. Absolutely heartbreaking. For even the strongest of Christians, it would have been an unbelievable test of faith. I know that if I had been in his shoes, I would have asked God why a thousand times and probably shaken my fist at the sky.
In the postgame interview, however, McCoy gave an example of true faith. “I never ask why,” he said. “God is in control of my life, and I’m standing on the Rock.”
“What? Come on, Colt! Aren’t you angry at God? Aren’t you sick to your stomach over what was taken away from you? This was your game! This was your time!” Nope. He was the picture of faith and humility, praising God for His sovereignty and paying tribute to his competitors and teammates.
There’s a similar situation outlined in the Bible, and it involves a man named Job. He had it all: wealth, family, health and status. In an unbelievable story, God allows Satan to strip everything away from Job because He knows that Job will remain faithful to Him. After losing livestock, servants and even his children, Job responds with one of the most remarkable statements in Scripture: “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (v. 1:21).
Like Job, McCoy received an undesired and unplanned outcome. And, from his response, we can learn a great lesson. Yes, he was brokenhearted. You could see that in the emotion on his face and hear it in the quiver of his voice. But as a man of faith, he realized that he had been given a greater opportunity to model faith through disappointment.
It would have been very easy for McCoy to praise God while holding a trophy. While that would have been a great testament to the Lord, I think what he said last night after the game was a thousand times more powerful, if for no other reason than it was a thousand times more difficult.
At one time or another, life will bring us all to this point. We’re all going to be surprised by painful situations that we don’t plan. When those times come, how will we respond? Will we turn on God in anger for not giving us what we wanted? Or, will we respond out of humility and faith, knowing that our Lord IS in control and that He loves us regardless of situation and circumstance. Will we truly believe that He works in all things for our good (Romans 8:28) even when we can’t see or understand His plan?
Whatever you are going through today—whatever disappointments or losses you are experiencing, take the opportunity to evaluate your faith and to praise God. Ask Him to help you trust Him and be a model of faith to those around you. Remember, the world is watching.
1. When has life dealt you unexpected disappointment? How did you respond?
2. Have you ever questioned God when He gave you a different outcome than you desired?
3. How was Colt McCoy’s display of faith perhaps more powerful in defeat than in victory?
4. How can you model faith in disappointment today?
Many of the Psalms, including 10-14