Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams lost his wife Ingrid on February 10th, just over a week ago. Today, he stood up before his family and friends and spoke candidly, passionately, and lovingly of the hope that he clings to for his family, the Donaldson family, and for himself. Of note, numerous players and coaches, including Kevin Durant, Nick Collison, Clippers coach Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich were reportedly in attendance.
As I write this, a game between the Clippers and Spurs is in progress, and both Pop and Doc are on their respective sidelines. I know that many will question the sincerity and commitment by each coach to both parties, either to Williams' grieving family, or to their respective teams, who have now observed an hour of supposed grief followed by a TV-promoted professional basketball game. It is a strange juxtaposition, is it not? To this conflict, I would offer this: the power of a saving faith is that it can position joy and sorrow side by side, respecting both, while diminishing neither. Why does a leader attend a memorial service in one step and then return to his charges to compete in the next? Perhaps because there is significant, and one might even say eternal, value in understanding and exercising that if your faith cannot speak both to you and through you during your own times of the most painful kinds of trial in order to encourage others, then what really does your faith have to offer the world?
Williams' words and faith may not be your own, but they are mine, and to his peaceful confidence, I add:
But as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. - 2 Corin. 6: 4-10
Peace and hope go with you, Monty.