Did you watch the Super Bowl this year? An estimated audience of 111.9 million tuned in to view what turned out to be a highly defensive and therefore less filled with spectacular highlights than most of the contests in recent memory. But as the final seconds ticked away, the final jewel in Peyton Manning’s storied career was cemented in place.
The game of football has seen a lot of changes over the years since the Packers and Chiefs squared off against each other in the first ever Super Bowl way back in 1967. Most of the changes have been beneficial, bringing radical improvements in safety, equipment, eligibility, sports medicine and of course, rules. One of the most impacting changes made to the game did not directly affect how the game itself is played. Rather it affects how the game is seen by fans and how penalties are enforced by the instant replay booth. While I’m constantly amazed at how well most of the officials manage to make good calls, there are some judgments made on the field that are changed when what really happened is slowed down and subjected to further review.
Sometimes I think it’d help believers a lot to have an instant replay booth as well. It’s all too easy to for us to make instant assessments of the events of our lives without ever getting a proper look at what really occurred. How many times do we want to signal for a time-out to argue a call with God when hardship, difficulty or pain block progress toward our goal? The vantage point we have from down on the field leaves us certain that the delay of our “game” can only be due to the interference of some unseen opponent.
But the truth is that if we had the ability to ‘further review’ our situation and see it from God’s angle, we would probably realize that what looks like foul play is not beyond the watchful protective gaze of … not a detached referee… but of our loving, concerned Heavenly Father.
God promises us that there is purpose behind every disappointment if for no other reason than what it does within us. As the coaching from the Apostle Peter reminds us, our response to what may seem like penalties actually proves the genuineness of our faith. (1 Peter 1:6-7) So, before you throw the challenge flag when the play doesn’t go the way you want, remember that when all the supports are knocked out from under your life and you have only God left, that’s when you discover what you really believe. It’s often in the final push to the break through that line of adversity that impurity and compromise are subdued, revealing a rich and abiding faith that will be more rewarding and enduring than any earthly victory.