Redesigning your faith
Green-and-yellow fan you are or not, the Green Bay Packers lost a tough one last weekend. By any reckoning, they had the game in the bag. Complete domination in the first 30-minutes pushed the salty air from Puget Sound right out of the stadium. Fans started coughing over the smell of cheese. But the Pack was sacked. The final eight minutes turned team exuberance to mud. The “National Conference Champion” caps never left the box behind the bench.
While the Packers are still scratching their heads as to exactly what happened, the Seattle Seahawks are not. At least their quarterback is not. Russell Wilson knows what took place. God arranged the four interceptions he threw in the game – more than half of the seven he threw all season. That’s right. God designed the quarterback’s floundering first half performance so that the Seahawks’ could enjoy the thrill of a fantastic comeback win.
“That’s God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special,” Wilson said in the team locker room.
Wilson’s suggestion reminds me of the Bob Mankoff cartoon where an angel with a task list stands in the clouds beside God. The bearded Almighty is seated in a throne with eyes glued to a television, not wanting to be bothered. “I can’t deal with any famines, epidemics, or massacres right now,” God mutters. “I’ve got to help some guy sink a free throw shot.” Plug in “throw four interceptions” for that free throw shot and you have Wilson’s version of faith.
The Seahawks’ victory is causing me to rethink my own faith. I’m wondering if it doesn’t need a new twist. For years now, I have thought my blundering, my insensitivity, and my stupidity in trying to fit too many tasks into too little time were the cause of my showing up five minutes late for too many meetings. Come to find out that God has been arranging my tardiness all along. It’s all about divine favor, you know. In arranging my circumstances, God has allowed my colleagues to enjoy the ecstasy of those occasions when I DO arrive on time.
In other words, God has a plan for all the tardiness in my life. You didn’t know that; but now you do.
Russell Wilson was crying in the locker room after the game. We don’t know if those were tears of joy for surprising himself with incredible turnaround play, or if they were tears of sadness for having thrown God under the bus of his own pride in playing a memorable game.
Peter W. Marty, senior pastor