With Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos playoff victory over the Pittsburg Steelers yesterday, the social-media world has once again become flooded with claims and counter claims as to whether God is providentially at work in bringing about the victory and success of Tim Tebow because of his very publicly professed Christian faith. What I’m about to say, which may or may not be worth its salt, is a reflection of one tweet by Rachel Held Evans and a new blog post by my friend and former Professor, John Mark Hicks.
Sometime last night, Rachel Held Evans tweeted “So God’s busy altering the outcome of a football game when 30,000 children died from preventable disease today? Got it.” John Mark Hicks, in this blog post, took a little issue with the tweet. He reminds us that God is big, big enough to grant or allow for Tebow’s success in hopes that Tebow would use such success with the unique financial and influential position it places him in for the advancement of God’s kingdom by “feeding the hungry, healing the sick and saving some children from death”.
I must admit that I am sympathetic with Rachel Held Evans tweet. As a parent who has lived through the death of a son, I am sympathetic. Why, after all, would God be interested in the outcome of a football game (or any sporting event) when there are thousands of children suffering and dying from poverty, disease, exploitation, etc…? Of course, the question of “Why?” is all part of the mystery of suffering left waiting for that ever-illusive answer. But what Hicks is saying, and what Evans, myself, and everyone else who is skeptical about the claims associating the success of Tim Tebow with the divine providence of God need to be reminded of, is that however God is at work in this situation (and God is at work in all things for the good, according to Romans 8.28), this could be God’s way of addressing such problems as poverty, sickness, exploitation, etc… by raising up a Tim Tebow with such a rare position of prominence and financial fortitude to deal with such problems. In other words, God could be at work in the success of Tim Tebow in order to advance his kingdom through the feeding of the hungry, the caring of the sick, etc… which brings about God’s glory upon the earth.
Tim Tebow, of course, has a choice. He can use his unique position for his own selfish gain or he can use it for the sake of God’s kingdom and glory. I’m not a huge Broncos fan and so I don’t follow Tim Tebow closely but it appears from everything I see, hear, and read, that he thus far is using his position for the later.
Where does that leave the rest of us Christians? We can keep jostling back and forth over the question of God’s providence as it relates to the success of Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos (however long it lasts for) but I fail to see what good will come from that. On the other hand, we can pray for Tim Tebow and other Christian athletes that they would use their unique positions for God’s kingdom and glory. Added to that, we can join them in the causes and charities they support for that purpose. After all, however God is at work, he’s not just at work trying to bring about his Kingdom in the Tim Tebow’s of our world. God is at work in you and I too.
To God be the glory!