If you aren’t a fan of Brian Banks, there is seriously something wrong with you. There are so many levels to this guy you can take your pick as to which aspect of his young life you can admire.
A bit like Joseph in the Old Testament, his potential for great things was taken from him at a young age as the result of the injustice of a woman’s false accusation. So if stories of exoneration of the innocent are your thing, there’s your angle. Or, you could be excited about his chance to play for the NFL, a dream that had been shattered by his prison sentence. There’s also the injustice of him having been counselled by his lawyer to plead no contest because he was a black teen accused of rape, so his chances were slim that he’d win. The truth about his character has finally come out. There are many more reasons to be captivated by this young man’s story, but I’d like to share what grabs me the most.
He never stopped dreaming. The window of opportunity for a professional athlete is very slim, and he’d already missed all of college and the first few years of being a pro. But, even though he was in prison with precious little hope of being freed – he still trained for the sport that was his life! Where there should have been no hope, his dream gave him a reason to live. The desperate of his circumstance didn’t overcome him. Quite the contrary. He was ready for the impossible, and when what he dared hope for became a reality – he was ready.
I’m teaching a series on the small Old Testament book of Ruth and we’re on chapter 2 this week. Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, were in a similar situation as Banks. They weren’t accused of doing something wrong, but life took a few bad turns for them even though they did nothing to deserve it. Both lost their husbands (Naomi lost two sons as well) and were reduced to begging for survival. But God was moving them in the right direction, and Ruth never gave up hope. It’s a lesson in the meaning of redemption offered by a merciful God and the determination of a young woman who made it a reality for her and her family. Her story wasn’t just about her redemption. In an incredible twist, Ruth became the grandmother of King David who, of course, was an ancestor of Jesus Christ. Ruth wasn’t even a Jew, so I’m sure she wouldn’t even have dreamed that possible! But with God, anything is possible.
I want to live my life like that. As Christians, do we have a right to live any other way? When things look totally lost, we must be able to count on the dreams God has put in us to push us on. We need to be as ready as Brian was for the time when God unleashes his plan he has in mind for us.
What part of Brian Banks’ story grabs you the most?