The recent announcement by Isaiah Austin, Baylor basketball team's 7 foot 1" center, that he has Marfan Syndrome and will not be able to continue to play basketball is a powerful illustration of how cruel life can be, and how life can rock your world just when you think you have arrived. The NBA made a gracious gesture in asking Isaiah to attend the NBA draft and then "drafting" him symbolically. watch video Yet it is a tough break for a really great young man who looked as if he had a bright future playing in the NBA. It is ironic that this condition that prevents Austin from playing basketball in the future is why he is unusually tall, which gave him a significant advantage in the sport.
Marfan syndrome is an inherited disorder that affects connective tissue — the fibers that support and anchor your organs and other structures in your body. Those with Marfan syndrome are usually tall and thin with disproportionately long arms, legs, fingers and toes. If your heart or blood vessels are affected, the condition can become life-threatening. Some people experience only mild effects, but others develop life-threatening complications. In most cases, the disease tends to worsen with age.
What is impressive is how Isaiah has handled the news and the attention. He has used the spotlight to emphasize his faith in God, that God has another path for his life and will help him overcome the disappointment.
Isaiah is no stranger to setbacks, having overcome losing sight in one eye after being struck in the eye by a ball playing baseball when he was in Little League. He learned to adjust to the lack of vision and the loss of perspective that you have with two good eyes to become an all-conference player in the Big 12, helping Baylor win the NIT last year and get to the NCAA tournament this year. His focus was on becoming an NBA player but he now says he has a new mission, to help and inspire others through his story.
Still, it must be extremely difficult and disappointing to have God say no to your dream and to learn at the same time that you have a serious health issue you'll deal with the rest of your life which may also shorten your life. What do you do when God says no to a dream? Will you handle your heartache and disappointment as well as Isaiah? I recall something I came across years ago, that helped my perspective on why God sometimes says no to us.
I asked God to take away my pride. And God said “No”. He said it was not for him to take away, but for me to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. And God said “No”. He said her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience. And God said “No”. He said patience is a by-product of tribulations. It isn’t granted, it is earned.
I asked God to give me happiness. And God said “No”. He said he gives me blessings, happiness is up to me.
I asked God to spare me pain. And God said “No”. He said suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow. And God said “No”. He said I must grow on my own. But he will prune me to make me fruitful.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. And God said “No”. He said I will give you life, that you may enjoy all things.
I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as he loves me. And God said, "Ah, finally you have the right idea."
Yes, Isaiah heard God and he has the right idea.