There are very few things in life I enjoy better than sports and God. I am a sports nut, watching it on television; playing whatever sports I can; and talking about it to whomever will listen. I am also a follower of Jesus. He has chosen me to be one of his children, and for that I am eternally grateful.
So, why the column? Just to tell you that I like sports and love God? Well, not quite.
While walking through the video store the other day, and trying to find videos we can watch as a family while my college-aged daughter is home for a few weeks, I stumbled across a football movie called “Woodlawn”. And, I am so glad I picked this movie and was able to watch it with my entire family.
Now, I’m not going to spoil the movie for you, but suffice to say it has a very wonderful message about what the power of Jesus can do to an entire community.
It turns out the story is a direct reflection of turning hatred into love; of bringing different cultures together for a common good – in this case by using a football team.
It’s what was called back then, “The Jesus Movement.”
But, it made me think about all the good things that could be happening in our world if we just surrendered our love to Jesus.
Now, God doesn’t promise only good things in our life. In fact, all throughout the bible, and in today’s world, there are unexplained tragedies that occur.
Examples of young children dying of cancer, or a silly home invasion turning into murder are commonplace in our world. Things like this happen, and God allows it.
But, what the movie shows and what the Bible says is that believing heals all wounds. Jesus says, “I am the way…I am the light.”
Even in the darkest times, He is there, bright as ever. It may be tough to see Him at that moment, and believe me I’ve been there. However, hanging on to our faith is about all we can do.
The movie, which I suggest everyone rent, unites the broken city of Birmingham Alabama back in the 70s. It’s not done by politicians, but by a simple chaplain at a local high school.
And, it’s brought to life by a football team and a their belief in something more powerful than anything on this earth. It is done through the blind faith we should all strive for each and every day.
For to truly know love is to know Jesus.
As I sat there watching the movie, and as the two main rival high schools, Woodlawn and Banks, get ready to do battle – in front of a record-setting crowd of 42,000 people - there was one word used in the movie to sum it all up.
“Look what happens when God shows up.”
How often do we stop and think about what happens when God shows up?
How often do we go about our business without asking God to be present? To help guide us, or better yet, counsel us?
I know I’m guilty of running too fast sometimes, and not waiting around for God to answer.
But, you see, that’s the thing. God doesn’t answer in our time, he answers in His time. So, patience is the key.
I am hopeful some of you go rent this movie, assemble your loved ones, and watch this remarkable story unfold and strengthen the faith you have, or bring you to God if you don’t already know him.
As Billy Graham, in Dallas Texas, 1972, so eloquently put it in his memorable sermon to 80,000 followers from 100 different countries - “One Light In The Darkness Can Make A Difference.”
And, all 80,000 in attendance knew in their hearts that the “one light” was Jesus Christ.
Look what happens when God shows up!