IOWA CITY (CHRISTIAN EXAMINER) — Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard has flown under the radar most of the season, but with the Hawkeyes' appearance in the Big Ten Championship earlier this month, press coverage has increased and the public is learning more about his faith.
"I read Bible scriptures in the hotel before we get on the bus," Beathard told The Des Moines Register recently. "And there's a book called 'Jesus Daily' that I read a page from before each game."
The story also says he attends a weekly Bible study at offensive lineman Ike Boettger's house and an optional pastoral message for players. But his spiritual food doesn't end there. A 14-year-old fan named Jay Knabe has been feeding him Bible verses all season via text message.
The 22-year-old met Jay at Iowa's spring game in April. Knabe is the oldest of six homeschooled children who travels in an RV with his parents and siblings. He asked Beathard for an autograph on a poster at the spring game. Beathard signed it and asked Jay to send him a copy.
When Beathard received it, he called Jay and they chatted about several subjects, including the Bible. At the end of the phone call, Beathard asked Jay to text him a Bible verse before each game. Jay has gone above and beyond Beathard's request.
"Almost every day, he'll text me and send me some words of advice — some positive words, scriptures and stuff," Beathard says in a video interview on the Register's website. "It's great to hear from him."
Before Iowa played Iowa State in September, Jay sent Beathard Isaiah 60:1: "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you." Iowa won 31-17 and Beathard was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week.
Jay's father, James, took to Facebook recently to talk about the relationship between the two.
"They stay in contact as we travel and Jay encourages C.J. through Bible verses and words of encouragement," James wrote. "As the team heads toward ... one of the top bowls this season it is very important to stay grounded and keep perspective."
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson saw the story and spoke about it on his Facebook page.
"This is truly a great story of how faith can be exemplified and elevated to the forefront of our lives, even at the pinnacle of success, where we have the tendency to revere ourselves and look inside, instead of looking above," Carson wrote.
Carson shared his favorite Bible passage in the post (Proverbs 3:5-6), and offered his well-wishes and encouragement to them.
" And Jay, please keep your passion for sharing The Word with all you encounter on your path — and tell your father, James, to keep playing the trumpet; Candy and I are always big fans of having music in the family."
The Hawkeyes lost a heartbreaker in the Big Ten Championship Saturday night to Michigan State, 16-13, ending the team's bid for a perfect season. But the Rose Bowl came calling for the first time in 25 years. Iowa will play Stanford on New Year's Day in what should be a great match up.
Beathard will be expecting a Bible verse from Jay before the game.
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