Greater Things

I think most of you Iowa bloggers (any maybe even some Minnesotans) know about the fatal shooting of Aplington-Parkersburg Head Football Coach Ed Thomas last week. He was an incredible man, one of Caleb's coaching role models, and outspoken about his faith. Last May, the A-P community was hit with a devatasting tornado that flattened a majority of the town. Thomas was a huge leader in the school and town re-build.

One of Thomas' former players has been charged in the shooting. I heard someone say that as he was being arrested for another crime the week prior to the shooting, he said something about doing the "devil's work." I'm certain this is a situation the devil wants to turn into a hopeless, dark disaster...but I know that the Lord works in the midst of these tragedies to bring life and healing.

The funeral was full of past and current A-P football players, as well as players and coaches from neighboring communities. When someone lives their life for God in the way Coach Thomas did, the devil doesn't have a foothold! People knew what he was about, what he stood for. He was a fantastic coach, but that wasn't where his HOPE came from. I still get overcome with sadness for the A-P athletes and Coach Thomas' family and friends...but this man has set up the framework for greater things to come even as a result of his absence. Because his hope, drive and passion came from an eternal source.

I heard this song (God of This City) on the radio for the first time the day after the shooting. I love Chris Tomlin's lyrics, always, but this song especially caught me. I think it can apply to so many situations...large cities full of poverty and disaster, mission fields with a deep need for Jesus, etc. But Parkersburg has now suffered a natural disaster and the murder of one of their town's "pillars." YET - God has even greater things in their community. I can almost hear Coach Thomas speaking this to his players and community - urging them to believe and engage. You must listen!

As an athlete from a neighboring community, I'm sure I only knew a fraction of what this amazing man stood for. But because his roots were so deep in Christ and his community, I can't help but be driven and inspired by his work and his legacy. A coach, friend, father and grandfather whose life was, perhaps, cut short by earthly standards, but whose ministry will continue far beyond his physical passing.

Sports Illustrated wrote a fantastic article, you can read it here. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all involved in this situation. As a former athlete and a current coach, it has been on my heart constantly.

The June 29 edition of the Waterloo Courier states that there is a sign on I-57 in Parkersburg that reads, "God has a plan for us." - Ed Thomas.

Addendum to this post: My college friend, Alicia, let me know that "God of This City" was not written by Chris Tomlin, but by a band called Blue Tree. Actually, she interviewed them! Read the story behind this impactful song on her blog, Virginia Living. Thanks, Alicia!!

1 comment:

Alicia Marie said...

It is amazing to see God work in hard situations. After reading your blog, i think you would like to hear the back story of God of This City.


I wrote a couple blogs on it and talking with the Blue Tree guys was one of the best interviews of my life. It really helped me put those lyrics into perspective.

Will be praying for the community