Saturday, February 25, 2012

Linsane Adaptation

Life is full of problems. Some trivial and some much more serious. There are always things in our way to potentially slow us down and hinder our progress. These trials are things that we need in order to become who God has planned for us to be. Many times we are faced with trials not because of things that we are necessarily doing wrong but simply because they are essential to lift us to new heights of progression.

We have a simple choice when we are faced with these trials. 1) Trust in the world and give up. 2) Trust in Jesus Christ and adapt to our situations. 

To trust in the world would be to give into temptation. To trust in the world would be to put things of the world above the things of God. It would be passiveness in a time where we must stand for what we believe in. It would be to give up when we feel that we've 'had enough trials'.

We must choose to trust in Christ. To do so is to keep going. To keep standing up and being assertive in the ways of righteousness. We must "push forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men" (2 Nephi 31:20). We cannot give up. This principle of not giving up is universal and can be applied in all that we do. 

I am a huge fan of basketball. Sue me. Because of my service as a missionary I am unable to watch or follow the NCAA or the NBA like I did at home. However, I have heard a thing or two through letters from home about a certain player named Jeremy Lin. 

Jeremy Lin
Lin in the NBA Summer League of 2010
The first time that I heard about Jeremy Lin was during the 2010-2011 Summer League of the NBA. I received a letter from my friend telling me about an amazing point guard from Harvard that was tearing it up  for the Dallas Mavericks summer ball team. I asked my friend some follow-up questions in a letter and then in my friend's response he said that Lin made it through the Summer League and then was signed by the Golden State Warriors and got to play in a couple of regular season games. Sadly his spark died out a bit and then the team wasn't able to keep him because of salary and roster problems. He was cut shortly thereafter.

Over a year later I receive word that he is back and is doing amazing things for the New York Knicks. After being cut by the Warriors last year he kept trying and was signed by the Houston Rockets at the start of this year. Because of roster issues (again) he was cut from the team. The New York Knicks picked him up and he got limited playing time until some injuries and roster changes happened. Lin was given a chance in a losing game against the Celtics where he proved himself to get some more playing time.

Soon after that he started playing even better and he was putting up amazing numbers. It was noticed by all-star teammate, Carmelo Anthony, who asked Coach Mike D'Antoni to give Lin even more minutes and opportunities to play and prove himself. He did and he earned himself a starting spot. Ever since Lin has been playing a significant amount of minutes the Knicks have had a 9-3 record. He also has averaged over 20 points and over 8 assists in his first 10 games as a starter (the first player to do that since the ABA). 

He has only been able to accomplish this because of his hard work, perseverance, determination, and hope for a brighter future. It would have been so easy for him to accept defeat or work only half as hard because of previous failures but because of his diligence and his ability to adapt to difficult circumstances he has pulled off some amazing things. 

When we are struggling with work, school, family, friends, and life in general it can get tiring. Satan wants us to throw our hands up and say, 'I don't care anymore. I give up.' The Lord wants us to put our hands to work, harder than ever before, and recognize what we can do differently or what we can improve. He wants us to say, 'What more can I do to get where I need to be?' The Lord provides us with challenges to see how we handle ourselves. Will we choose to rely on Him and succeed or will we choose to be passive and be defeated?

Jeremy Lin kept trying even when it seemed he could go no further. He was then given another small opportunity with the Knicks and he made the most of it to the point that Carmelo Anthony recognized his talents and talked to the coach and it resulted in being given an even bigger opportunity. Now he is a starting point guard for a high-caliber team in the NBA and they are playing at a level above that they were playing before.

I promise that as we strive in our own lives to adapt to our individual struggles and simply keep working forward we will see miracles. The Lord's hand is in all things and He wants to reward us with blessings. These miracles may be small and they may be big. Sometimes it takes a very long time to see the rewards of our faith and work but the Lord promises us that we will be rewarded. As we strive in Linsane adaptation and push forward "rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer" (Romans 12:12) we will see the rewards of our faith.