As a Baylor fan, I was saddened to hear that Isaiah Austin discovered he could no longer play competitive basketball just 4 days before the NBA Draft. Expected to be taken late in the first round, Austin discovered he has Marfan Syndrome which puts him at risk for a ruptured heart.
He had already overcome so much! After losing vision in one of his eyes in an accident in middle school, the 7’1″ Austin still managed to average 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.9 minutes during his two years playing with Baylor. In his freshman year, Baylor won the NIT and last year they reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.
So what do you when your lifelong dream will not come true?
Four days before the NBA Draft, Austin discovered he will no longer play the game he loves at the highest level. There will be no shoe endorsements or million dollar contracts.
Isaiah Austin definitely expressed sadness and even struggled emotionally to answer some of the questions in his interview with ESPN.
However, in the midst of all that he is going through, on his twitter account, Austin gave us hope and advice to consider when our dreams led us to a road block: “I’m sorry [my supporters] couldn’t see me play in the NBA. But it’s not the end, it’s only the beginning.”
Where did he get this kind of hope? His mother Lisa Green gives us some clues. In a Dallas Morning News article, his mother was quoted as saying: “He has persevered through so much and we are so proud of his faith in God. I have always told him that he can either make it his excuse or his story…. So we ended a chapter early but by no means is his story over. We have just started a new chapter of his life.”
We need perseverance and faith to handle life’s challenges.
Sometimes we need to endure. What we feel is a road block is actually a detour.
Other times, we need to let go of our dream, at least in the way we saw it happening. For Austin, what he learned playing basketball will stay with him the rest of his life. This moment in his life will be an encouragement to thousands if not millions of people.
There was a random video up on his Instagram account during the season that also gives us insight into what may be going on. Watch as 5 of Austin’s Baylor teammates get baptized here.
Isaiah Austin may never know why God allowed this to happen, but I do know the people closest to him will never be the same because of their friendship with him.
Is what we are pursuing God’s plan for us, or is the process to get there (or almost get there) what He had in mind for us the entire time?
Are we pursuing our own dreams, the American dream, or do we have the courage to pursue God’s dream for our lives?
Isaiah Austin will succeed in life. God will provide for Him, and Austin’s faith will allow God to help him through the trying moments and allow him to help others in the midst of theirs.