What You Know When You Don’t Know

Coaching during a pandemic has taught us many things, one of which is this: we know that we don’t know.  Is your team going to be able to compete this year?  “I think so, but I really don’t know.”  Are you going to be able to make it through the season without any additional interruptions caused by the pandemic?  “I believe so, but I really don’t know.”  Are sports going to be back to normal next year?  “I hope so, but I really don’t know.”

What do we do in the midst of so many unknowns?  We remind ourselves of what we do know: who God is because he’s revealed himself through the Bible and through his Son, Jesus Christ.  We build on the foundation of trusting him.  Our faith in God sets the course for who we are and what we do – including in a time filled with unknowns.  In his book Small Faith, Great God, N.T Wright says, “Faith is the willingness to think and act on the basis of what we know of God… and to trust him that he will not let us down.”

Hebrews 11 points to multiple men and women who did this very thing.  Here are two: “It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood.  He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before…  It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance.  He went without knowing where he was going” (Heb. 11:7, 8).

It’s tempting to give the best of our attention to all the unknowns and to endless speculation about how these unknowns might affect us and our coaching.  When this happens, we become distracted and possibly even paralyzed by what we don’t know.  Instead, we must discipline ourselves to focus on what we do know about God and his trustworthiness.  Like Noah and Abraham, we must be willing to think and act based on what we know is true of God and his desire for us.

How does this impact how you coach?  Here are a couple of examples:  We know that God is sovereign over all and in control.  This means you can trust that God put you right where you are to coach those in your program during this very time.  So coach in ways that influence them to become the people God created them to be, rather than just coaching toward a schedule of games that can feel tenuous at this point.  We also know that God loves us with his unfailing love, demonstrated definitively by Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death for us.  This means you can trust that through your faith in Christ, you are secure in God’s love no matter what happens.  So coach with genuine love for your players so that they have a sense of security in these tumultuous times.

There are so many other ways your faith in the Lord plays out in your coaching.  Here’s the point:  In this time of so much uncertainty, continue to reinforce in your mind and heart what you know to be true of God.  Let this then dictate how you think and act rather than focusing on the unknowns.  You may feel like Abraham in this particular season as you need to move ahead without really knowing where you’re going.  You can do so by faith in God.  He will not let you down.

For reflection:  Take a couple of minutes to list things you know to be true of God because of what he’s revealed through the Bible and through Christ.  Reflect on how believing these truths about God influences how you think and act.  Share with the Lord your desire to trust him rather than focusing on the unknowns.