A precious gift for me was being recruited to run cross country and track at Cumberland University. This was me being recruited without knowing I was being recruited. What I also didn’t realize is the impact this would have on my future, not just with running, but with my faith. Looking back, I had a decently successful track career in high school and my senior year saw continued progress. At a few of the meets, there would be this older guy that always had a smile on his face, always encouraging, just hanging out and talking with a few of the coaches from other schools. By June after I graduated, I had no vision of what I would do going forward. The best plan I could come up with was to walk-on to MTSU’s track team. Nothing wrong with that, but certainly no aspirations to live up to the potential God had gifted me.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Then I got the call… “I want you to come run for us on scholarship at Cumberland University!”
Coach Robinson was and is a faithful man. Not only when it suits him or in front of certain crowds. No, he lives it as we are all called to do. He lived it when he was on campus, he lived it when we were at meets and weren’t having a good day. He lived it when he showed up for each and every one of our graduations. He didn’t keep track of all of his runner’s times, and barely kept track of our GPA’s, but he knew that each one of us was in a walk with the Lord and he could help be a guide in that walk. Just his example was enough to have the young men and women of his cross country teams sometimes second guess the bad choices and reflect on the good choices we made each day. This example trickled over into other aspects of my college experience: I found myself actually showing up for class, taking homework seriously, getting involved with various Christian and other organizations on campus, even taking a leadership role in my fraternity. Unfortunately he couldn’t shelter me from that one…
2 Corinthians 8:12: For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
What is interesting about how all of these things transpired is that it wasn’t all just about me either, they seem to have had such a great impact on others as well. Just looking at my growth, it’s safe to say I have done a lot more damage. It took time, sometimes there were setbacks, and sometimes there were periods of growth in my life. But God, as He always does, creates much better paths to follow. What a gift that the Lord gave me in my Coach!
James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
He wasn’t really coaching running, he was coaching a better way to live life.
John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.