Pat Summitt was one of the greatest coaches in sports history. She won more games than any other NCAA Division l basketball coach (male or female) during her 38 years as the head coach of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team. 

Coach Summitt, 64, died on June 28th after a five-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, but her impact and legacy will live on for many years to come.

In reading through some of her inspiring quotes, this one stood out to me: “Quit? Quit? We keep score in life because it matters. It counts. Too many people opt out and never discover their own abilities because they fear failure. They don’t understand commitment. When you learn to keep fighting in the face of potential failure, it gives you a larger skill set to do what you want to do.”

Sports provide countless opportunities for players to keep fighting when they have no more energy to continue playing or when losing seems inevitable. As fans, we are always amazed when athletes can increase their commitment by going to the next level and make it through a tough game.

I believe we all have circumstances when we face the option to quit…or opt out…or avoid failure by not even trying. Although giving up may seem easier than to keep fighting, I think we can admit that when we persevere we’re able to develop more strength, character, and a “larger skill set” for future situations.

Even though we know that as followers of Jesus we can rely on God’s power during difficult times, all too often we run from our challenges or hope they will end right away. However, if we keep fighting in these moments, we will see God’s goodness and faithfulness and realize He has gifted us with abilities to endure and grow during the process.

James 1:12 (ESV) tells us what happens when we stay persistent:“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.”

In the New Living Translation of the Bible, James 1:12 says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”

Pat Summitt knew what it took to win in basketball, and I really believe the principle of not quitting when “facing potential failure” translates well. As we deal with our own tests, temptations, and trials, let’s be challenged to endure, trust God, and keep fighting. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I admit there are times when I want to quit in areas of my life that become too hard or that I face failure. In those moments, I pray that You will give me strength to keep fighting and help me see that You are working in me and growing me. Thank you for Your promises as I endure and trust. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.