Today’s verse is perhaps the best in all the Bible to close out a long Thanksgiving weekend in which so many people, believers and nonbelievers alike, were stuck to the TV screen watching American Football games, myself included. For many of us, Football, whether college or professional or both, is as much a part of Thanksgiving as family togetherness, turkey, and cranberry sauce. Also, for many fans, is the conviction that “my team is going to win!”
On Thanksgiving Day itself I watched my team the Detroit Lions get defeated rather handily on their home field. But I have seen this happen so many times on Thanksgiving that it came as no surprise. Saturday was different. I had looked forward to the annual University of Michigan vs Ohio State game the entire season. Every fan of either team always does. This year Michigan was thought to be the better team. They had been improving as the season progressed, while Ohio State had been struggling a bit and falling in the rankings. I was confident that Michigan was destined to win the game this time!
Yet they did not.
Michigan was defeated rather badly. I will spare the details but suffice to say Michigan played one of its worst games of the year, and Ohio State played its best. Ugly mistakes were made by both teams, but Michigan made more of them. As the game wore on I gradually accepted that the game I had expected to see was not going to happen. Though I was merely disappointed, I know many a tear was shed by Michigan fans after the game.
What does it all mean? Why does God seem to favor one team over another? Why were the Ohio State fans celebrating that day while the Michigan fans were mourning? Only God knows the answer to that. But there is a lesson here. Many consider sports to be very much like life, and sports metaphors abound because of it. Our Lord uses those games frequently to give us something that we all require -- He reminds us that He is in charge of all things, always.
Pray with me the Serenity Prayer of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
Author: Jeffery D. Kooistra