The Faith and Fate of Jeremy Lin
I didn't expect to play in college. Honestly, I didn't know if I was going to be able to play in high school. I was always one of the smallest guys. I went into high school at 5'3", 125 pounds, and every day I came home from practice asking my parents if I would grow taller.
So, physically, I was so far behind. I was just trying to make the varsity team, let alone play in college. I had no idea what God had in store for me.
That's why everyday, when I wake up and go to practice, I remind myself to be grateful that I have been so blessed. I could try to take credit for whatever success I've had, but honestly I see my basketball career as a miracle. That puts things into perspective for me.
Video Question: If your dreams came true, what would your future in the game of basketball look like?
How does your faith shape the way you behave on the court? Are you a different basketball player because you are a Christian?
Not just in basketball, but I think in life, when you're called to be a Christian, you're automatically called to be different from everyone else. In today's world of basketball, it makes you really different, because the things that society values aren't necessarily in line with what God values.
Much of it comes down to humility. We as Christians are called to be humble. And if we really understand the gospel, we will be humble. We should be humble, and understand that everything that is good comes from God.
We are also called to turn the other cheek and love our enemies. There are times on the basketball court when people will say things to you, and you just have to bite your tongue and love them. It's almost as though you have to love then even more, and that love means more if they're wronged you.
Society focuses so much on individual stats and wins and losses. To a certain extent, you can control those things. But to play for God means to leave the records and the statistics up to Him and give your best effort and allow God to figure out whether you win or lose, whether you play or shoot the ball well that game. So I just try to make sure that I work hard and in a godly way. I prepare myself as well as I can, and at every point during the game I try to submit myself to God and let Him use me.
Everyone who steps on a basketball court will hear taunts and insults. Yet racial slurs are another matter, and you have had to confront them regularly throughout your career, as the first Asian-American to reach this level. Do you find it particularly difficult to respond in grace when racial slurs are used?
I'm naturally competitive and cocky. I love proving people wrong. I love competing. When I first started hearing those remarks, I would always want to say something back, or to play well to get them back. As I grew older, I realized that I shouldn't allow that stuff to effect me, and at the same time I shouldn't retaliate. I shouldn't say anything back. So at this point, now, this year, it hasn't really bothered me. It's just something I'm used to now, and it's a good opportunity to reflect the grace of God when you don't say anything back, or when you're really respectful in return. That says something powerful.
Dr. Timothy Dalrymple is the Associate Director of Content at Patheos, and writes weekly on faith, politics, and culture for Patheos' Evangelical Portal. Follow him at his blog, Philosophical Fragments, on Facebook or on Twitter.