Tim Tebow, John 3:16, and Me
Prior to playing in the 2009 National Championship Game for the Florida Gators, Tim Tebow told his coach (a very superstitious man) that he planned on changing the verse on his “eyeblack” from Phil 4:13 to John 3:16. As expected, his coach was not pleased to hear this, but conceded and understood that Tim had set his heart on the change. Not only did they go on to win the championship, but 94 MILLION people Googled that Bible verse during the course of the game. When I heard this, it made me smile at the thought of so many folks being pointed toward God’s Word. But, admittedly, I thought that while it was pretty cool for that to happen, it could very well have been done with anything secular. I mean, Tim could have put “Google Snorks” under his eyes and folks would have done so merely on the power of suggestion. Then I heard about another game in which he played exactly 3 years later.
On January 8th, 2012, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos faced off against the Steel Curtain of Pittsburgh in the AFC Wildcard Playoff Game at Mile High Stadium. I’m sure I watched the game if I was able then, but I cannot say that I remember it as my then-beloved Steelers fell that day. To most, this seems like no big deal. Just another game, in another year, in another town; and they’re right. Tim even stated later that John 3:16 never crossed his mind during the game that resulted in an overtime win.
I seriously doubt that God really cares which team wins or loses. I know that He hears the prayers of those that truly love and follow Him, but I’m not thinking that God is hanging out with Moses watching football on Sunday afternoons. I’m fairly certain that The Almighty doesn’t tally the prayers received from each team, then provides favor for the side with more heavenly support; that’s just not how He works. However, let no one be folly enough to think that God does not make himself known when and how He pleases. That day, I believe, as do millions of others, that He made a statement.
Following the game, Tim was getting ready to walk out into the press conference from the locker room when the Broncos PR guy pulled him to the side. anxious to give him some news.
He told Tim that during the game, this is what happened:
Tim threw for 316 yards.
Tim’s yards per rush averaged 3.16.
His average yards per completion were 31.6.
The television network ratings for the game were 31.6.
The Broncos’ time of possession was 31 minutes, 6 seconds.
During the game 90 MILLION people, once again, Googled John 3:16.
Say what you will about about Tebow’s athletic ability, but one thing is for sure. God used Tim for His glory that day to reach millions and made it known in a peculiar way. Tim Tebow has had many highs and lows throughout his professional life, but in listening to him speak and watching how he lives, one thing is clear: Tim Tebow finds his identity not in WHO he is, but in WHOSE he is. He knows that he is, first and foremost, a child of God. Tim knows that regardless of what he does or how he does it, his first priority is to bring glory to God. Tim Tebow’s career certainly didn’t turn out as the world expected or as he intended, but he found comfort in knowing that God was, and will always be, bigger than any problem he may encounter. His submission to God’s will above his own speaks volumes about his character as a Christian.
I found this story very pertinent to my own life and my current situation. Not knowing when, or if, I will be able to get back to the job I love so much often weighs heavy on my mind. My life for the past last 10 months has been uncomfortable, inconvenient, and painful, but I have learned a lot about patience and humility. These lessons are something I know I needed and have been invaluable in bringing me closer to God. I will always find my comfort in the Lord, my God, Jesus Christ. I know He has a purpose and a plan for my life and I trust in Him fully.