During an interview with David Canales for a recent profile of the Seattle Seahawks’ wide receivers coach, he shared several interesting stories.
The one that caught my attention the most happened a year after Canales joined Pete Carroll’s staff at Southern California. After just a few years as a junior college coach, Canales considered the USC position his “dream job.”
Then, one day Canales’ mother told him Carroll had agreed to become Seattle’s head coach. David dismissed it as a rumor, telling her: “Every offseason when someone’s successful, they get calls. The year before, it was the Miami Dolphins.”
When she assured him numerous outlets had reported the move, it rocked his world. His wife, Lizzy, was nine months pregnant; now Canales wasn’t sure whether Carroll would offer him a position in Seattle—or if he would still have one at USC.
A Hawk Reply
Soon after that, the Canaleses met for a take-out lunch at famed MacArthur Park in San Pedro. Before eating, they joined hands to pray.
He concluded with the thought that the situation was in God’s hands and they would trust Him. Then came a most interesting phenomenon.
As soon as they said, “Amen,” they looked up to see that a massive hawk had flown in from the Pacific Ocean and landed in a tree growing out of a nearby cliff.
Not just any hawk, but an osprey, the model used for the Seahawks logo. It looked at them, turned its head, and flapped its wings.
“We looked at each other with tears in our eyes,” Canales recalled. “We just received it as a sign of God’s assurance that I was going to be a Seahawk and was going to be up there. It wasn’t until about two weeks later that I got the phone call to take the position in Seattle.”
Called to Coaching
Several years prior to that, Canales had struggled between pursuing coaching beyond the high school level or becoming a fulltime staff member at the church his grandfather had founded in South Los Angeles.
Then, at a gospel music concert, the lead singer came to his row, motioned to him and said, “I feel like the Holy Spirit is telling me: It’s okay. You can go now.” Two weeks later, an associate pastor at his church prophesied his ministry was going to take off—he was going to soar.
“A lot of people thought that meant musically,” says Canales, then a part-time worship leader. “But in my spirit, I knew what that meant.”
Such encounters are part of my life too, yet the skeptics of the world would scoff, discount their validity, and accuse people of faith of believing in myths and fairy tales.
It’s as if we live in an alternative universe, where rationalists won’t be convinced no matter what happens. No matter if Canales is still in Seattle, years after sensing that was his destiny.
Essence of Faith
Had I not seen so many things that seemed impossible, I might be skeptical too. But every Christian knows that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, MEV).
I can cite ordinary miracles from daily life, such as our early 1990s struggle-for-survival period, when a huge lump developed on our black Lab’s nose. Disturbed, but with no money to pay for vet’s bills, we laid hands on her and prayed. In a couple days, the bump disappeared.
There are more recent ones too. Like the woman we know whose 33-year-old best friend suffered a stroke earlier this year; doctors gave her a 25 percent chance of survival. The woman sent out a prayer request. Today, her friend is home after rehab treatment.
You can believe it or not.