One of the more exciting moves this last off-season in the National Basketball Association was the Boston Celtics’ signing of free agent guard Gordon Hayward from the Utah Jazz. Gord was reuniting with his former college coach, Brad Stevens, who is now the head coach of the Celtics. Hayward played for Stevens when they were both at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.
A couple of years ago, my son Josh’s baseball team had a tournament in Indianapolis. While we were there, we visited the campus of Butler University. One of the highlights of the visit was walking through Hinkle Fieldhouse, the basketball home of the Butler Bulldogs. It has been around many years and it seeps with great tradition. The fieldhouse is named after the legendary basketball coach Tony Hinkle, who coached the Bulldogs for 41 years (1927-1968).
Did This Just Really Happen?
The Boston Celtics’ opening game for the 2017-2018 NBA season was against the defending Eastern Conference champs, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hayward and the Celtics’ fans were eagerly looking forward all summer to this match with Lebron James and the rival Cavaliers. Hayward’s dream season, however, came to a devastating end before it barely started.
Less than six minutes into the game, Hayward suffered a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle in his left leg. He landed awkwardly on the hardwood after an attempted alley-oop play from Kyrie Irving. His legs got tangled with a couple of Cleveland players and his leg collapsed under his weight. When Hayward looked down at his leg, his left foot was pointing in the wrong direction. James grimaced and pulled his jersey over his eyes when he saw the injury.
Paul George, who used to play for the Indiana Pacers, and now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, suffered a similar devastating injury. After an extended rehabilitation, George has been able to return and resume playing at a very high level. He has surprised many people. The hope is the same for Hayward’s recuperation.
The play that Hayward got hurt on, he had run countless times with the Utah Jazz. “Last year with the Jazz, it was one of our signature plays,” Hayward said. It was an alley-oop pass from the point guard…….but this time something went terribly wrong. His ankle and leg snapped as he landed on the floor. Questions and fears that his career might be over flashed in his mind. The team doctor of the Cavaliers snapped the dislocated ankle back into its original position. The pain was excruciating.
Total shock fell upon Hayward and his teammates. Kyrie Irving, the former star guard of Cleveland, was coming back for the first time to play his old team. The two favorites in the Eastern Conference were kicking off the new basketball season………”But now, instead of competing in the game that had been talked about since the summer, I was in one of the training rooms at the Q. (Quicken Loans Arena), getting X-rays,” Hayward lamented.
When Your Dream Becomes A Nightmare
What do you do when your dream becomes a nightmare? Gord and his wife Robyn are believers in Christ. One of the first things Gord did was talk to his wife on the phone, who was back in Boston. Robyn emotionally shared with her husband that she wished she could be there with him to comfort him. She then shared that God had a plan for them .
I think Gord needed to hear that word because it gave him hope. He also received a call from Paul George, who knew what Gord was experiencing, since he had a similar injury. His words of comfort and encouragement also gave him hope. He was also strengthened by the thousands of well-wishers whose hearts were heavy for Gord. Many said they were praying for him.
When our dreams become nightmares, we need to be assured that the Lord has not abandoned us. We also need to realize that it is not so much that God fulfills His purposes despite our sufferings, but through them. God’s purpose of redemption for the world came through the sufferings of Christ Jesus, not despite them.
Gord and the Celtics had dreams of an NBA Championship this year. And they still may win championships in the years ahead. We don’t know for sure. But one thing we can be sure of is the promise that Robyn and Gord are clinging to and trusting in: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
This verse is not saying that the actual devastating injury that Gord experienced is good. But what it does say is that God can bring good from this unexpected and unfortunate event in the lives of Robyn and Gord, as they trust the Lord. In the end, God will be able to do more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power (Eph. 3:20), if we just give Him the chance. This is true for all who love the Lord and lean into Him hard as life becomes hard.
QOTD: What do you do when your dream becomes a nightmare?