“You, Keep Your Head in the Game!”

Posted on March 14, 2020


By David Ettinger

Keep Your Cool
That line is from Hoosiers, the 1986 movie about a small Indiana high school basketball team that won the state title.

The assistant coach of Hickory High, named Shooter, was a drunk who had been sober since the season began. However, he relapsed badly, arrived at the gym well after the game began, and humiliated both himself and his team by his inebriated antics. Also humiliated was the coach’s son, Everett, who was shamed by his father’s actions.

After order was restored, head coach Norman Dale, understanding the torment Everett was experiencing and how volatile the situation was, pulled Everett aside, stuck his finger in his face and said, “You, you keep your head in the game!”

Coach Dale’s message was clear. He was saying, “Everett, I know how bad this occurrence was, but it’s not your fault. We have a basketball game to play, we need you in the lineup if we are going to win, and we need you to focus on your job.”

Minutes later, however, Everett lost his poise, punched an opposing team’s player in the face, a fight ensued, and Hickory forfeited the contest. So much for keeping his head in the game!

Same Advice Today
Today, we are in the midst of a “pandemic” – the coronavirus. Reports on the pandemic’s perilousness have run the gamut from something that will die out in a few weeks to a plague that will kill millions of people. With the varying reports comes the varying reactions, from a “let’s take it as it comes” sensibility to an “oh no, we’re all going to die” hysteria.

For Christians, however, the message should be much the same as what Coach Dale told Everett: “You, you keep your head in the game!” Of course, rather than Coach Dale, it would be God doing the talking, and rather than telling us this with finger pointed in face, He would do so with loving arm around shoulder.

Perhaps a better way to put it is how the sons of Korah did so in Psalm 46: “Be still, and know that I am God” (v. 10). Here is a marvelous cause-and-effect by which we can face any situation. The effect here actually comes first, and that is that we should “be still.”

“Be still?” you may be asking. “What if this pandemic is just the tip of the iceberg and worldwide disease and death occurs?” God’s not going to answer all your questions and explain every little detail. What He does do is give you this assurance, this wonderful “cause”: “Know that I am God.”

It’s all you need to know. No matter what horror afflicts the Earth, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ can take comfort in the fact that we belong to God, and that He is holding us ever-so-gently-yet-securely in the palm of His mighty hand.

So, believer, which do you prefer? “You, you keep your head in the game,” or “Be still, and know that I am God”?

Either way, so long as you know that God is the one doing the speaking, you are to find your strength in Him in good times and bad, and be about our Father’s business.

May the Lord bless you richly in these extraordinary days!