Chanin Naudin, originally from Princeton, Tex., played softball for the University of Kansas from 2012-2015 and recently competed with the Mexican National Softball Team. Next month, she will start her coaching career as a Graduate Assistant Softball Coach at Harding University in Searcy, Ark. Chanin and I were teammates for two years at KU and she is a dear friend and a faithful follower of the Lord. Additionally, she is one who has allowed the Lord to completely transform her life and teach her what it truly means to compete for His glory. Please enjoy the story she tells below of her former softball coach, Tracy Beard, and the wisdom and encouragement we can all learn from Tracy’s story.
Tracy Beard is a very loved father, softball coach, fireman, and believer in Christ from Mesquite, Texas. He was diagnosed with ALS on January 10, 2014 and life for him began to take on a whole new meaning. The disease has slowly taken away his motor skills and as of recent he has become bound to a wheelchair.
About a month ago I went to visit Tracy and we went to his favorite breakfast place. There is no way I can adequately explain how incredible our conversations were. We laughed, shared testimonies, and boasted about God. He shared with me so many things, but I want to focus on the book of Job in the Old Testament. Tracy asked me to read this book as a new follower to warn me of what can happen as a believer. So why do bad things happen to good people? The book of Job addresses this big question.
The life of Job directly parallels that of Tracy Beard. Job was a righteous man who had a big family along with land and many animals. Tracy considers his life as equally blessed with his wife, two daughters, and a career as a fireman that he loved very much. Satan approaches God in the story of Job asking for one of His best followers. God said to him in Job 1:8, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Satan feels as if Job will stray away from God if he takes away everything he has. God knows Job’s heart and hands him over to Satan, with the condition that Satan will spare his life.
Job first loses his livestock and servants, and then a mighty wind collapses his house killing his ten children. He immediately fell to the ground and worshiped God saying, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:20). Next, Satan attacked his own flesh by giving Job sores all over his body. Job responds by shaving his head and tearing his clothes in humility and, still, he praises God in his prayers.
Job goes through a period of mourning and seeking advice from his friends, who suggest that God is punishing him for the sins he has committed. Job feels unworthy before God and doesn’t know how he can ever stand blameless before Him.
Job 9:33 says, “If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.”
It’s incredible how Job recognizes the loophole in his faith because in the times before Jesus, there was no way to have a true relationship with God. He yearns for this kind of intimacy with the Creator through his poetry.
In Job 14:14-17, Job continues by saying, “I will wait for my renewal to come… He will cover over my sin.”
The Son of God was the answer to this prayer by Job. By Jesus dying on the cross, He was the final sacrifice for every sin committed and every sin to come. He was the link between humanity and the Father, the only way we can have a true relationship with Him. It is through our faith in Jesus that we are recognized as blameless and pure before God. Job’s friends are advising him at a time before Christ so in their logic they feel as if their sins are held against them. But God does not hold our sins against us because he knows our flaws and His plans to redeem us all.
Though ALS has altered Tracy Beard’s life, his spirits remain high because he trusts God’s plan for him. As someone who believes that Christ was resurrected from the grave, Tracy knows that God can redeem him from any circumstance, as God says in Job 33:25, “Let them be restored as in the days of their youth.” When I picked up Tracy from his house to go to breakfast that morning, he had the biggest smile on his face. He had an almost child-like excitement about him as he got into the van. On our way I drove over a bump in the road, which airlifted Tracy from his seat. I was looking back to see if he was okay and he was laughing uncontrollably, then I started laughing so hard that I about cried.
“I shall live to enjoy the light of life.” Job 33:28
So why did God choose Tracy Beard to endure the disease of ALS? To answer this question we must look back to how Job was chosen. The devil wanted to find one of God’s strongest children to test and try to deceive. God mentioned Job because he knew that he could endure anything and remain faithful to Him. God is not the one who gave Tracy Beard ALS. God is only good and does not do evil works, but God can allow bad things to happen to fulfill His purpose. It is not in my realm of understanding, or in anyone’s, to be able to fully grasp how God works. But I do know that God has a specific plan for Tracy’s life and that through this disease, He has brought so many people to faith in Jesus Christ. So who are we to say, ‘I am in the right, not God’? (Job 35:2).
God knows what is best for Tracy Beard and at this moment, he is called to live with ALS for the glory of God.
As always, God remains faithful and will work all things out for our good (Romans 8:28). Through the trials, Job stayed true to his beliefs and he was blessed for his faithfulness. The end of the story shows the Lord giving him twice as much as he had before. “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part” (Job 42:12). The story of Job gives strength to anyone enduring something that may seem impossible to overcome. In the case of Tracy Beard, Job demonstrates that God has great things in store for him. When talking to him at breakfast he spoke with such zeal about the Kingdom of God. Tracy said he couldn’t wait to hear the angels singing, see all the vibrant colors, and to just be with Jesus forever. He said as a follower of God the greatest feeling he has is this sense of peace; a level of contentment that can only come from trusting in God and His goodness.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
If you get to meet Tracy Beard, you will see what it truly means to be free!