The big game just ended.
The losing team’s players are heartbroken. They poured everything they had into that game and walked away empty-handed.
The winning team is rejoicing. Confetti’s falling. Awards are being presented on the very field they just conquered.
As the post game interviews begin, a few common phrases are being rehashed from seemingly every post game interview on big stages like this.
I’m just so blessed.
God is so good.
I just wanna thank God because he was on our side tonight.
Many players think God has an active role in determining the outcome of the game.
According to a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Religion News Service, one in four American adults would agree.
Twenty-six percent of Americans and 27 percent of self-described sports fans believe God plays a role in determining which team will win a sporting event.
Some players are consistent. A small handful really do want to give credit to God for everything they do, in wins and losses. But these are the very few. Tim Tebow comes to mind.
However, the lion’s share of athletes who want to give credit to God for helping them win never give God credit for helping them lose.
I have little hope of athletes changing their ways, though. I am also not sure we should expect anything but ridiculous statements from them seconds after they finish a game. The adrenaline alone can explain away half of what they spew in the immediate aftermath.
I am much more concerned about the way Christians view God’s role in sports on a smaller level:
on the rec field with friends
on the court of a pick-up basketball game
on the college intramural field
at your kids’ game (No, for real…AT YOUR KIDS’ GAME) See: An Open Letter to Little League Umpires
There is nothing I can see in Scripture that points to a God who cares about the outcome of any sports game.
When it comes to sports, God cares about all people from both teams. God cares that both teams play to their best ability, showcasing all their hard work, practice, and preparation.
I had the wonderful blessing of playing four years of high school baseball for the same godly man. He was a tremendous influence in my life, a stable presence consistently pointing me to Christ in very unstable years.
It was obvious to all of us, Christians and non-Christians, that he cared a lot more about the type of men we were becoming than our skills as baseball players.
Before every game we played, we all prayed together. It was always simple, the Lord’s Prayer. Before and after every game. Win or lose.
He helped me realize that while God did not care if we won or lost that day, he cared deeply about the way we played. God cared, as our coach did, about the type of men we were becoming.
God does not care if your team wins or loses. But that does not mean he does not care about you.
Losing does not negate God’s goodness.
God really is good all the time, in wins and losses.