by Shannon Caughey
With a loss in the playoffs, the season came to an end and the coach was experiencing a mix of emotions. There was disappointment because his team had not advanced further. But there was also a real sense of relief. While this coach loved coaching, he was also glad to take a break for a few weeks before diving into preparation for next season. As he put it, “Time to get off the ‘crazy train’ for a bit.”
You may understand exactly what this coach means. You likely preach to your athletes and try to practice yourself the “control what you can control” mantra. But how much can you actually control? Sometimes circumstances about which you can do nothing seem to undermine your best efforts as a coach. There are no easy solutions to the painful home situation of that athlete or the unrealistic expectations of that parent. While you wish you had more time and energy to get everything done, these resources remain finite even while the demands of your role continue to expand.
Trying to bear the burden of all of this as a coach can sometimes make you feel like you’re “going off the rails on a crazy train” (to quote a song that’s popular at sporting events). But it need not be this way. When you surrender in faith to Jesus Christ, you now have access to the game-changer for coaching and for all of life: you can genuinely know God more and more, drawing closer to him. And knowing God transforms how you think about and approach coaching with all its opportunities, challenges, and pressures.
How do we grow in knowing God? By digging into God’s revelation of himself in the Bible. In this and the next several devotions, we’ll look at names and titles of God in Scripture. The goal is to deepen our understanding of who God is, how we rightly relate to him, and the way this impacts how we coach and live.
The opening of Psalm 47 highlights one prominent name of God: “1 Clap your hands, all you nations;shout to God with cries of joy. 2 For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.”Psalm 47 is just one of many places in the Bible in which the Lord is referred to as “Most High.” This is his name because he is unrivaled in his supremacy. There is no one higher. He is “the great King over all the earth” – and there is no other king or ruler who comes anywhere close. Scripture often speaks of God’s sovereignty, which means he alone has the authority and power to rule over all creation. The Lord is in control.
Because he is the Most High, is it possible to draw near to him – especially since we are sinful, weak people? Here’s the good news: God sent his Son Jesus Christ to make it possible for us to know him. To “know” in Scripture means to have a relationship with, not just possess intellectual knowledge. In speaking about Jesus just before his birth, the angel says, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32). When we surrender in faith to Jesus – following him as our Savior and King – we are now enabled to draw near to the Most High God. We know God through trusting Christ: putting our confidence in our sovereign Lord and willingly submit to his reign.
The more we know the Most High through our faith in Christ, the deeper our awe of him and the greater our joy in him (Psa. 47:1, 2). When we recognize that God truly is awesome (in the fullest sense of that term!), it changes how we view our coaching and life circumstances. Even the most challenging situations no longer feel overwhelming because we are confident in the wisdom and work of our Most High God. When we understand that he is King and his rule is loving and good, his reign over our life and over all creation brings us joy.
The demands of coaching can still feel like riding the crazy train at times. But when you as a coach are drawing closer to the Most High God, you are able to rest in his sovereign control over all things, including every circumstance and detail in your coaching world. He reigns over that painful situation with an athlete or that difficult parent you encounter. He never runs short on the power and wisdom needed to accomplish all he desires. There is nothing outside of his rule as our great and awesome King. May you know in deeper ways this God who is Most High.
For reflection: Take a few minutes to praise God because he is the Most High God. Praise him for being the great King over all the earth, including every dimension of your life and coaching. Rest in his sovereign control over any situation you’re currently facing.