Coach Tony Dungy is one of the most admired people in the world of sports and beyond. Having experienced a tremendous career as an NFL coach, he was respectfully inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
During his speech, Dungy described the key moments of his remarkable journey, and revealed God’s presence throughout His life. He emphasized how the disappointments helped him grow and ultimately led to even greater things.
Here are some excerpts from his speech:
“Well, after four years of playing quarterback at Minnesota I expected to continue doing that in the NFL, but it didn’t happen. In 1977, even though the draft was 12 rounds long then, I didn’t get picked, and I was devastated. But it just is one example of God’s plans being better than our plans… (He ended up playing for the great Pittsburgh Steelers.)
“After getting a Super Bowl ring my second year, I experienced another disappointment, getting traded. But again, the Lord was using disappointment to help me grow. With the San Francisco 49ers, I got to play for Bill Walsh and see another system.”
Following his short playing career, Dungy became an assistant coach for many years. He eventually became the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach, and notably turned their franchise around.
However, Dungy went on to say…
“Losing my job in 2002 after a playoff loss was another painful disappointment, but again, God used it to lead me to a blessing. That’s when Jim Irsay called and gave me the opportunity to join him and Bill Polian in Indianapolis. (Where they won a Super Bowl.)
“The Lord has truly led me on a wonderful journey through 31 years in the NFL, through some temporary disappointments to some incredible joys.”
The reality is, Dungy’s story of joy and disappointment is not all that different from ours. As followers of Jesus, we can be encouraged by God’s goodness and faithfulness when looking back at our own journey.
Even if going through a temporary setback today, let’s be challenged to hang on to the truth and hope found in Romans 8:28 (ESV): “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
We all face struggles and disappointments throughout our lives, but we can be assured that God doesn’t ever waste them. Instead, He uses them to grow us, transform us, and accomplish His purposes in us and through us.
We can confidently trust that God will forever find a way to work all things together for good. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I’m so grateful for Your power and faithfulness, and I’m amazed at how You turn disappointments and struggles into good. I pray that I will fully believe and trust that truth even in the midst of difficulty. Thank you for the way You love me. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.