There is a buzz in the sports world about Tim Tebow, football, and God.  All kinds of thoughts have been fort about religion and athletic endeavors.  This is a blog post from 2007 that was originally titled, “Does God Care Who Wins Football Games?” which played off a 2003 ESPN Page 2 article by Greg Easterbrook titled, “Divine Intervention.”  I’ve updated and edited my original post to fit the current discussion to a degree.

For a sense of all the banter going on, you might want to follow these links: Bob Costas, ESPN’s Stephen Smith, All He Does Is Win (Favorite), New York Times, Justin Taylor (Christian perspective), The Gospel Coalition.

In my 2007 offering I played off a comment in the original 2003 ESPN Page 2 article… “Assume for the sake of argument that there might be a divine purpose, hidden from us, in having the Lakers beat the Kings in the playoffs on that improbably last-second long-range three last season, or in any sports outcome.”  (Now for the article pretty much as written in 2007).

The phrase I placed in bold italics is the whole crux of the matter for me.  To affirm that God either IS or IS NOT involved in athletic contests is presumptuous of knowing the Divine mind, will, and purpose from the smallest detail to the greatest purpose.  But to leave it at that would be a dodge so I’m going to try and muddle through a few thoughts.

The older I get, the more Isaiah 55:8-9 comes to my mind about everything in life… including football.  It is written that God says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Does God get involved in who wins football games or are they so inconsequential that He doesn’t care or does He just help on a few plays here and there or does He control the whole game?

(2011 Addition) Think about this possibility… in ONE single game (or even A play… or ONE encounter between two players during A play) God can work His purpose by one conquering while the other loses or visa versa.  God isn’t so much concerned about who wins or loses as that: 1) He is glorified, 2) His purpose for each person {And each person on each team} is accomplished for His eternal purposes!  Think through that.  Ruminate on those possibilities as another perspective that might be applicable.

Comparatively speaking (God’s interests versus our interests), any and everything we think… do… or are involved in as human beings is meaningless to God.  We are as insiginifigant to God as a speck of cosmic dust 100 trillion light years from earth is to us.  The reason is He is GOD and we aren’t!

Think of it this way.  Do you think President Obama really cares what our plans are for Christmas?  Does the Governor have any concern about what we eat for dinner tonight?  Both men have things of much greater concern than our travel or dinner plans!  Thus God… the creator of the universe… has greater concerns than who wins an athletic event.

That God would care about anything we do is an absolutely awesome thought!  That He would even think about us at any time over anything is overwhelming because He is God and we’re a speck of lint on a speck of lint in the universe!  Yet it IS true!  God DOES care!

(2011 addition) One thing that has not been discussed as far as I know is this, What is Tim Tebow praying when he kneels?  I personally do NOT think he is asking God to help the Broncos win the game!  Given this young man’s lifestyle and public comments my guess (And that’s all it is)… my guess is that he is thanking God for the platform to honor Him… he is asking God to use him for His glory… he is praising God for who He is.  In short, my guess is that he is lifting up praise, honor, and worship to the Almighty through Jesus Christ.

As human parents care about what brings their toddler joy, so God cares about what brings us joy.  As human parents are concerned about forming the character of their child, so God cares about making us holy.  As human parents are involved in the lives of their children, so God is involved in the lives of His children.

I’m sure you would agree that everything effecting a human parent’s child is important to them.  Likewise everything that effects God’s children is important to Him… no mater how small or inconsequential it may seem.  And the reason is because of God’s great love!

Everything that happens to God’s children is important to Him.  God has a purpose that is NOT hidden from us… which is conforming us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).   Now back to the question at hand, “Does God care who wins football games?”  If that game… or even a single play in that game… has an effect on one of His children, God does take an interest in it!  Not only does God take an interest in it… he may very well control what happens IN the game or in a single solitary play!

Does God care who wins football games?  Only as much as He desires to have His name glorified.  Only as much as He cares what happens in the lives of His children.  Only as much as he desires to conform His children’s character into the image of Christ.  Only as much as He desires to manifest His love by being involved in our lives to work all things for His glory and our ultimate good.

Does God care who wins football games?  Ultimately you will have to decide the answer to that question… or even if answering the qusesion is even important.  But before you do, I suggest you look back on your own life with a discerning eye.  See if you cannot see the mighty hand of God at work… behind the scenes… between the lines… moving, preventing, causing, strengthening, helping, and causing… in all kinds of events that (Comparatively speaking from a Divine perspective mean nothing).

Maybe God is involved in our lives more than we realize.  Maybe God causes losses as much as he brings about a win (Hmmm).  Since in all likelihood God has children on BOTH teams… He has a purpose for those who lose as well as those who win!  And His purpose is being worked out in both at the same time… in the same situation… in the same event.

Bottom line let’s keep this in mind… there are things a lot more important than making a catch… getting an extra point… or winning a football game.  So maybe we need to put our priorities where they really need to be…. and that would be honoring Him in all things at all times in all places to all people.