“You can’t write a Hollywood script like this, only God can do this. That’s a fact.”
Those were a few of the words spoken into a microphone to be heard by thousands of football fans after the National Championship game last Monday night. Dabo Swinney and his Clemson Tigers had just done what many thought was impossible. They defeated the Crimson Tide of Alabama, the undefeated previous national champions, resoundingly. Not just by a point or two, not just with a last-second field goal, but in a way that was impressive and irrefutable.
Of course, he was smiling broadly, but if you watched the game, you saw other signs of what makes this man and his team special. There was love on their sideline. There was a unified commitment to a goal. There was an atmosphere of family.
Yes. Last year, there was a strong Christian testimony given by Tua Tagavailoa, the freshman quarterback who saved the game for Alabama and gave glory to God. But, this year it was Dabo Swinney.
Consider a few remarkable facts about Coach Swinney:
- His real name is William Christopher. Dabo is just a nickname — thank goodness!
- Swinney actually played football at Alabama, starting as a walk-on, earning a scholarship and then being a part of Alabama’s National Championship team in 1992.
- He and his wife Kathleen have 3 sons, all of whom have accepted Jesus as their Savior — a fact that he calls his greatest blessing.
- He fell in love with Kathleen when he was in the 6th grade.
- Swinney is the youngest of 3 boys.
- His father was an abusive alcoholic for many years which caused the family extreme poverty.
- His mother, an emotionally strong woman who overcame much, has had a profound influence on him throughout his life.
For much more of Swinney’s story, read this interview filed by ABC News in 2016.
As I’ve thought more about Swinney’s quote — “only God can do this” – I believe it applies to every single one of us. When we look at the circumstances of our lives, isn’t it true that God has orchestrated every one of them? We are ALL unmistakeable evidences of His plans for us, His purposes, His design. The situations He’s led us through make up the total of our character, our personality, our reason for being born. Isn’t it our privilege, our responsibility, our job to acknowledge Him in everything we do?
Dabo Swinney had a microphone in his face on a nationally-televised stage. If you or I found ourselves staring at a person holding a microphone, what would we say?
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Philippians 4:20 – “To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”