Alabama faces off against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl tonight, a marquee match-up, to be sure, but not quite what the defending national champion Crimson Tide squad anticipated back in early December when they lost a heartbreaker to rival Auburn.
Following Auburn's unexpected victory, much of the attention centered around Alabama kicker Cade Foster, who missed three field goals in the game. In fact, he struggled so much, he was benched, and the chance for a game-winning kick was awarded to his freshman teammate. He didn’t fare much better. His kick was short and Auburn returned it the length of the field for the game-winning touchdown – a loss that ended Alabama's hopes of a national championship.
As if the disappointment of the defeat weren't enough, Cade Foster became an object of ridicule, hostility, and even threats in the days following the game. It's difficult to imagine what Cade has experienced in the face of such open derision. All over a game! A big game, to be sure.
Thankfully, not all of the comments directed at Cade following Alabama's loss were negative. His teammates rallied around him, and many fans expressed support. And in a handwritten letter that went viral, former President George W. Bush offered words of empathy and encouragement. Here's what President Bush had to say to the downtrodden athlete:
Dear Cade (#43),
Life has its setbacks. I know!
However, you will be a stronger human with time.
I wish you all the best –
Cade tweeted that note to his Twitter followers, adding that he was “framing this.” In a separate Twitter message a few days after the game, he wrote, “My teammates are 100% behind me, and I can't love them enough for that. Also thanks for the supportive messages from Fam, Friends, and Fans.”
I don't know Cade personally, but he sounds like a strong and resilient young man. He has chosen to focus on the positive and move ahead. He's shown no animosity – at least publicly – toward those who have even gone so far as to send him death threats. He's made the decision to “frame” those words that lift him up.
We could all learn from that. Now that we’re into the new year, what are the things you choose to “frame”? Amidst struggles and adversity, do you have a tendency to get stuck in negativity and despair? Or are you able to tune your ear to words of life, believing that the Lord does indeed cause all things to work “for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)?
For my part, I pray I can always take a page from Cade Foster's book and “frame” those things that speak of grace, healing and hope.
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