If you were among the more than 209 million Americans (estimated) who watched the Super Bowl on Sunday (which would have been better with the Bills in it, but I digress…), you might have seen a controversial penalty call late in the game. That call, the merits of which will likely be debated from now until at least the next Super Bowl and beyond, changed the trajectory of the game, and may have cost one team the advantage. Regardless, the game is over now, and one team is the victor while the other one goes home as the number 2 team for the year – their lives changed forever.
Sometimes life can change quickly and unexpectedly through no fault of our own. The only thing that the players and coaches control now, is how they react to what has happened. What they do when the stadium lights are extinguished, when Rihanna has packed up her red jumpsuit and baby bump, when the last car has left the parking lot. They can choose to appear on the next day’s morning show rounds – complaining about the raw deal they got, how they were robbed of a Super Bowl ring and paycheck. They can call for the resignation of the entire officiating staff – umpires and scorekeepers and that guy who resets the clock. They can say that the sun was in their eyes or that Arizona was too hot or that the game was fixed. They can let their whole lives be ruined by that one moment, when, maybe, something happened that wronged them, that changed everything for them. Or, they can have grace for the official, they can accept the result, and move on to whatever God is calling them to do next.
Life can change in an instant. Someone else’s bad call on the freeway can lead to an accident, a person could be the random victim of a crime, people get sick through no fault of their own. The only thing that is certain in life is that you can’t always control it. What you can manage is what you do next. I am not saying that life changing events do not deserve lament, that we should never feel sad or wish that it didn’t happen, but that does not give us free range to do as Job’s friends suggest, “curse God and die…”* Remember, God favors those who don’t win, those who got the bad call, even those who bring it upon themselves… My prayer for you this month is this, no matter where you are in the game of life right now, victor or second place or even 16th place, that you will fully know that God is your biggest cheerleader – win, lose, or tie…