On Saturday morning, just hours prior to their NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship Quarterfinal game against Tabor College, the Wildcats took part in a basketball clinic for Branson area kids and adults with special needs. IWU joined teams from Corban University and IU-East for an hour and a half of basketball drills, encouragement, and smiles.
One Wildcat in particular made a divinely inspired connection. Kar Reng spent the majority of the time with one camper in particular. His name is Michael. Michael takes on life with a huge heart despite facing several challenges, including blindness. He loves sports, especially basketball, and has developed a pretty good looking shot.
The final activity of the morning involved giving each camper an opportunity to hit a three-point shot. When Michael’s turn came, the improbable became a reality. The coaches instructed everyone to be completely silent as Kar positioned himself under the basket. Michael had spent the previous ninety minutes learning Kar’s voice and now he would listen for that voice to direct his shot.
As Kar talked to Michael the first shot was to the left and a little bit short. Kar continued to give Michael verbal instructions and the second shot caught rim. One more time Kar spoke Michael’s name. Michael let it fly and the third shot hit nothing but the bottom of the net. The crowd went wild!
In John 10, we are given the picture of the Good Shepherd and sheep. Jesus tells us, “my sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” It’s in listening and following the Good Shepherd’s voice that we find there is safety and freedom for the sheep. In fact, the Good Shepherd will even lay down his life for His sheep.
An unlikely three-point shot reminded me of the power of listening. Not to just any voice, but rather, listening to that one voice that has proven good and true. Just as Michael dialed in on Kar’s voice and had faith that it could be trusted, so can we do the same with our Heavenly Father. In the midst of a hectic frenzy of basketball games and excitement, I’m thankful for this simple reminder.
- Roger Alcock