What To Do When Tebow Loses
by Dennis Michelson
Introduction: The cartoon character Pogo said "We have met the enemy and he is us." So much of our trouble, heartache, and misunderstanding comes from our limited view of Scripture and the God of Scripture. The Tim Tebow fad reminds me of the "born again" fad from the 1970's. Simply stated, some have given the impression that if Christians are sincerely and faithfully doing their best then they will win ball games (or even elections)! Please consider the following three points before you claim premature victory or become disillusioned by temporal defeat.
1. The Panorama of History
God created and declared everything good (Genesis 1-2). Suffering, toil, pain and death entered by Genesis 3. Genesis 5 repeats the morbid refrain "and he died . . . and he died . . . and he died . . ." This is the world in which we live until the new heavens and the new earth become a reality (Revelation 21:1-5). Isaiah also looks forward to the time that Paradise will be regained (Isaiah 11:1-9). Until then we need to remember that rebellion is the root of pain and sin is the source of death.
People struggle with the presence of evil and injustice in the current scheme of things. The beleiver can make a useful distinction between murder and tornadoes; war and earthquakes, but both kinds of evil - and the suffering caused by them - are the result of sin and rebellion.
2. The Evil of Evil (Isaiah 5:20)
Fallen man is evil (Romans 3:10-18). This truth stands at the intersection of theism and humanism. If you want to measure evil then you can do so by placing it against the backdrop of God's wrath (another antiquated thought) Compare Romans 1:18-32 with Ephesians 2:3 and you will see that -
The ugliness of evil is established by the beauty of God
The filth of evil is established by the purity of God
The selfishness of evil is established by the love of God
Evil (in the theological sense) is the failure to do what God commands or the performance of what God forbids. Moral evil is man's rebellion against God. Natural evil is part of the price or penalty of human rebellion. Herein lies a great mystery which causes many to stumble - it is possible for evil things to have a good result even when the human intent is evil, God may not only intend, but allow it for ultimate good. Study the Cross. Study Genesis 50. Read Psalm 76:10.
3. The Goodness of God (I John 1:5 and Deuteronomy 32:4)
God created a good universe. Humans rebelled. Every bit of pain and suffering turns on these truths. Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." Perhaps it should have been "When Good Things Happen To Bad People." The latter is more astonishing than the former. We as humans have sacrificed our "rights" by our sin. If Tim Tebow wins any game then it is because of the goodness and grace of God. However, when Tebow loses, God is just as good and gracious. You see when Moses died, God did not. When Tebow lost, God did not.
If we truly believe that our sin properly deserves the wrath of God (and very few do), then we will be less quick to blame God and a lot quicker to recognize that we have no fundamental right to expect a life of unbroken ease and comfort (or championship season).
The biblical persepective is that it is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. Suffering is not always the immediate consequence of a particular sin. Illness can be (I Corinthians 11:27-34); or not (the man born blind in John 9). This helps explain why there is no equitable distribution of punishment in the here and now. Compare Ezekiel 21:3 with Matthew 5:45 and then with Exodus 12:12-13. The believer may be confident that he will never suffer the wrath of God but he will experience (in this life) some of the suffering and injustice common to all of Adam's race.
Our root problem seems to stem from a feeling that any suffering we may experience is unfair. If that is the case, then read Isaiah 6:1-5 and thank God for His mercy and grace.
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