One of my all-time favorite movies is “Facing the Giants.” The movie is about a high school football coach bringing back a losing team to winning. As head coach at Shiloh Christian Academy, Grant Taylor had been managing a losing team for six years. The seventh year there were rumblings that parents wanted a new coach—which meant replacing Grant Taylor.
That was not the only problem Grant was facing; his car was breaking down, and he discovers that he is the reason that his wife Brooke cannot become pregnant. Because of discouragement with everything going on in his life, Taylor decided to seek God and put God first, not only in his coaching style but also in his marriage. Coach Taylor also wanted to bring God into the picture with his team so he encouraged the team to do the same. He told them if we lose a game, we will praise God and if we win, we will praise Him.
My favorite clip in the movie is when Coach Taylor asked the team captain, Brock, to do the “death crawl.” Brock had to get down on all fours, then was blindfolded and crawled across the field with a teammate laying on his back.
After a few yards Brock felt like quitting, but Coach Taylor would yell, “Don’t quit!” Coach Taylor even got down and crawled along beside the young man yelling for him to keep going and not to quit. The young man would keep saying "I can’t do it anymore!" Then the coach would come back with “Yes you can, do not quit”! When the young man finally collapsed with the young man on his back he had crawled an amazing 60 yards!
How many of us feel this way about trials? Sometimes we get so overwhelmed and burdened down we feel we cannot go another day. There are four lessons I learned from this clip.
1. Look to God for help!
Just as coach Taylor encouraged this young man to keep going and not to quit, God is there for us. God tells us in Isaiah 41:10: "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (New American Standard Bible). God is there to cheer you onward because He knows you can make it!
2. Always praise God.
Grant Taylor encouraged the team, to praise God no matter what the outcome was. Be grateful to God always. It changes your whole perspective on life. As Chris Heinz puts it in the article "7 Benefits of Praising God": "Praise reminds us of God’s presence in our life. In Psalm 22:1, David wrote, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Had God really forsaken David? No, but that’s how David felt. […] If you are walking with God, He will not forsake you. Praise reminds you that God is near. […] Praising God attracts God’s presence. He is drawn to where He is welcomed."
And we sure need Him in our life. It gives you a new positive attitude that you can win this battle because you know God is there! “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us" (Romans 5:3-5, New International Version). So praise Him even in the hardest times praise God because He will deliver you!
3. Carry your brother and sister in times of need.
We need to be there to encourage one another along. Just as the coach was there for the captain to encourage him along the way to not quit, we also must be there for others when their road is difficult. In Galatians 6:2, God tells us to “Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (NIV). Grant Taylor literally crawled along beside the young man to encourage him so he would not quit. We need to do that for one another.
4. Don’t quit!
The last one is the most important one. Don’t quit! A famous poem addresses this very point:
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It might be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
For all the sad words of tongue or pen
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”
- John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)
There are many lessons to learn from “Facing the Giants” and these are only a few I learned. I strongly recommend watching it.
We all face giants in our lives from time to time. We feel we are crawling at times with 140 pounds of trials on our backs as Brock was doing in that football field. Sometimes we even feel we cannot take another step. However, we can! We must! We must always praise God and ask Him for help and for encouragement. And with every opportunity, look for ways to help someone else carry their burdens.
As coach, Taylor was able to turn his losing team around to a winning team. We also will win in our trials because we are all winners in God’s eyes. Moreover, God plans to make it so. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'" (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV). We all win in the end if we don’t give up!