You may know that I. LOVE. THE. NFL. One of the reasons I love fall so much is NFL football. Becoming connected with a team, watching them struggle each and every week is amazing. These men are at the top of their physical game and the complexity of the plays, mixed with the dance like precision that they execute them is breathtaking.
However, things don’t always go the way you want them too. As a Patriots fan I thought going into this season we were doing to dominate every game. I could never imagine that after a loss to the Jets, every team in the AFC east was going to be 2-2. However, as the playoff picture starts to shape up, I am excited that the Patriots are looking to win their division (yes I know there is a lot of football left).
As I was basking in this weeks blowout verses the Rams I was thinking…..
As a Patriots fan I have not had to deal with a lot of loss. Yes losing the Super Bowls has been hard, but overall the Patriots have been a winning team during the Brady-Belichick era. One of the most amazing things to watch has been how Tom Brady has orchestrated fourth quarter wins. Just when you think you are going to lose — SOMEHOW he turns it around and we end up with a Win.
But that’s not always the way. Recently I have noticed that the Patriots are not winning the games that they use too. Back in 2008 these close games would of been wins for the Patriots and they could be one of two undefeated teams this year. But now, when the Patriots have the ball, down by two with 2:15 on the clock and 80 yards to drive. I am not 100% certain that the Patriots will win the game. Either Brady will throw a pick, they won’t drive the ball far enough for a field goal, or they will kick the ball wide left. There was a time when I would think the Patriots will win but now there is a chance that they will lose.
There are many times in our lives when we think we are going to win. It could be a promotion at work, a relationship we are sure is going to last forever, a financial plan that is unbreakable, or a promise we were certain we were going to keep. Things add up perfectly and if we stick to the plan, 3 months from now, 6 months from now, life is going to be perfect.
But those fourth quarter comebacks don’t always work, even if you have Tom Brady leading the offense. You never know when you are going to get hurt, when there is a wrench in your plan, when something unexpected happens. Then what do you do?
Our first instinct is to run. We think we need to run away, that we can’t face the consequences, that it would be better if someone else was to clean up our mess. But that is further from the truth.
I wanted to run, around this time eight years ago. I just moved my family to Philadelphia to start graduate school. My son was 6 months old, my wife and I were trying to get adjusted to our new routine our new positions in life. She was the breadwinner, I was the poor graduate student. But we did not have enough….food, money, time, energy, faith.
We wanted to run, we wanted to quit what we were doing and either go back to our old lives, or go away and hide.
But instead of running, we dropped to our knees and prayed. Instead of running away, we started to run towards……God.
It was hard, at first I was wondering what really could happen, what could God do that I couldn’t? I was young and foolish.
Within the next month, God answered. We were blessed with two checks from people and congregations that wanted to support my seminary journey, I was able to land a fantastic job, we found a church where we were spiritually fed and we found some great friends that reminded us how to laugh.
What I learned from that experience is that life is not always going to be easy —– even when you think it will be easy things can happen. But instead of running away, run towards something else, something you know is constant in your life, something that is always there even when we can’t see it. That is God, we are promised that God will always be there for us providing what we can’t, listening and protecting us, even from ourselves.