February 4, 2019

By Paul Banta

Proverbs 10:23-29 says, “Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible. The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled; the hopes of the godly will be granted. When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation. Lazy people irritate their employers, like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes. Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.  The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked.” – NLT

Several years I was in Jamaica as a guest coach at Munro College. I did two-plus weeks of pre-season training of the players and helping prepare them for the final stages before their season. We had only one more exhibition match to play in Kingston. Just after the game got underway, those of us standing on the sideline of the field heard a horrendous car crash. It was shattering to our ears. Although the collision was several blocks from the area where we were, it sounded as if it was very close. The thought went through my mind that no one could have survived, and the coaches and reserve players on the sideline all verbally agreed with what I was thinking. No one said anything at halftime. Many were shocked, but we’re glad to be safe and alive after a crash that rang out “Death.”

A few moments after the match ended, we noticed something on the bed of a tow truck. It was the car that had crashed. It was destroyed. It didn’t look like a car anymore, just a big mass of rubber, plastics, and various metals. I could only think, “What a disaster!” Being the guest coach, I was asked to share a few closing words before I left to catch a plane to go to Montego Bay for a meeting and then back to the United States. A few parting words I was asked to share! What could I say after such a crash? I managed to share a few coaching points and a few words of appreciation, but my mind was still on the life or lives lost in the crash.

It had been a full two weeks of coaching, and I had been able to impact players in soccer, while God had made some significant impacts through me as I shared spiritually with many players. With all the players and coaches gathered around, one guy asked whether the team would ever see me again. I said, “Some will and some will not. It’s like this, men. This morning, the people in the car crash never knew what disaster they were facing today. They didn’t know it would be the last day of their lives on this earth. God’s got a special plan for each of you and a great one. It’s beyond soccer, my friends. It’s His special design for you, and it’s your choice. Those who follow Him on this earth will one day be with Him in heaven. That great promise is for you from God. Don’t choose a road that will be your disaster and your ending. You never know when your time is up.”

What’s your next move?