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Friday, January 1, 2010

As 2010 Begins . . .

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. (Jeremiah 17:7)

Only a few who read these words will recognize the name Hunter Lawrence. In certain parts of the country his name is now well known, but before the 2009-10 Big Twelve championship game, he was just the field goal kicker for the University of Texas football team. On that December night, he was called upon to kick a field goal on which his team's entire season, and hopes of a national championship, hung. There was exactly one second left on the game clock - a second added back by referees who at first had thought that time had run out on the Texas team. Lawrence's team was behind by 2 points. A 46 yard field goal loomed.

Predictably, as Lawrence and his holder readied themselves for the snap, the opposing coach called for a time out. Calling for a time out under such circumstances is a time-honored practice sometimes referred to as "icing" the kicker - give the kicker too much time to think about what is riding on the kick - time, perhaps, to choke under the psychological pressure of the moment.

Less predictably, Lawrence's holder, Jordan Shipley, settled Lawrence down by reminding him of the Bible verse that had been the team's motto for the week, Jeremiah 17:7, Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. Timeout over, Shipley received the snap and placed the ball for Lawrence, who proceeded to drive it through the uprights half a football field away. Longhorns by 1 point, right to play in the national championship game secured. Lawrence was carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates. Later, he credited his friend Jordan Shipley with providing the word in season that made all the difference.

Lawyers can identify with the pressure Lawrence was under. Thorough preparation and years of experience do not make one immune to the heavy, sometimes lonely, responsibilities of representing a client when the stakes are high. Like kickers, some lawyers live for such moments; others would prefer to avoid them. Regardless, a lawyer knows that his or her mettle will be tested, and only one side will win. And one cannot expect a do-over.

As 2010 begins, almost all of us face challenges that, if we are honest, we find daunting. Perhaps the challenge for you is professional. Or it may be relational or health related. Perhaps the very thought of this challenge makes you a bit jittery. If so, receive this verse as your word in season: Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

Grace and peace in the coming year from your brothers and sisters at the Christian Legal Society.

Lord, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. My heart is at rest because You, not the things of this life, are my Hope. Use the events of the coming year to teach me to trust You more fully than ever I have in the past. Thank You for bringing me to this very place.

~ With thanks to Brent McBurney, Director of Attorney Ministries, Christian Legal Society

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