On Saturday, January 19, 2013 our Lipscomb University track & field team got to experience God’s hand in an up-front, in-your-face way. We were participating on the second day of a two-day indoor track meet at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn.
Our team is usually the last team to leave a meet. We do everything together as a team. We put a lot of emphasis on cheering on our 4x400 relay team which is always the last event. At the end of every meet we get together as a team to give praise for great performances and to pray. The meet at ETSU was no different.
As our team met we noticed a group of high school athletes and parents seated next to us in the stands. They were listening intently to what our head coach, Bill Taylor, was saying. They had been sitting next to our team throughout the day.
Coach Taylor finished talking with the team and asked if anyone else had anything to say. One of our athletes had praise for a teammate. Then an unexpected voice came from across the aisle.
“May I say something?” asked one of the mothers seated with the high school team.
She began to praise our team for how they acted during the meet and how they cheered for each other. She mentioned how refreshing and different our team was from other programs she had seen.
We learned that the high school team was from Florida. They had driven to Tennessee in a rental van. Their coach was somewhere in the dome frantically looking for a black Northface jacket he had lost. The rental van keys were in one of the jacket pockets. Several public address announcements had been made Saturday afternoon but had not resulted in the jacket being found. They had been looking for three hours and were losing hope of finding it.
We asked if we could pray about their lost keys.
One of our team captains, Adam Austin, gave thanks for the meet and also specifically asked that God would intervene and the jacket with the keys would be found.
Within 20 seconds of us finishing the prayer we heard the coach of the high school team shouting from the other side of the empty arena. He had no idea we were talking with his team or that we had just finished praying that his jacket and keys would be found.
“Found em!” he yelled.
He was in an area of the arena he had not been in the entire day, about 30 rows up in a random section of seats.
Our entire team looked at each other with wide eyes, the hair standing up on the back of our necks. We began cheering and praising God. The high school team was overjoyed and relieved. They too joined in praising God.
We have all been blessed by God revealing himself to us in thousands of ways. The problem is that in our sinful selves, 99.9% of the time, we don’t realize it, see it, or give credit where credit is due.
Luke Syverson is an assistant track & field coach for Lipscomb University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org