Tuesday, October 12, 2010


In all my running, fumbling and restlessness there's a reality. It's something that's foundational to my world and the world around me: It's that I am loved beyond my wildest imaginings.

I heard a story just 5 minutes ago actually, and I need to get it down before I forget it: It's about a college football player who played somewhere for some team (Is it that obvious I don't follow football? Talk about having a hard time thinking of stuff to talk about with guys at social gatherings!) This young man (I can say "young man" now that I'm in my mid-thirties) seemed to have a close relationship with his father as the coach had noticed that he walked around with his father arm-in-arm.

The story goes that his father passed away about a week before one of the team's big games. The young man went into the coach's office to ask for some time off to attend his father's funeral. Of course the coach told him to take all the time he needed and not even to worry about the game.

But when the player got back from his father's funeral before the game and went back to the coach's office. There he asked him if he could start in the big game. The coach said "Sure," thinking that he would pull him after a few plays, as he really wasn't that good of a player.

He was put in the line-up and just so happened to receive the field-goal kick. He then surprised the coach by busting a few tackles and getting to the 50 yard line.

On a whim the coach decided to leave him in the game and had him run the next play. He busted more tackles and was able to run it into the inzone for a touchdown.

This sort of thing happened for the rest of the game, baffling fans, scouts and coaches. Who was this player (I still don't know - though it's a true story)?

After the game, which they won as underdogs, the coach pulled him aside and asked him why he played so well. The coach kindly emphasised that he knew he wasn't that good (with coaches like this, who needs enemies?). The player responded, "The reason I had such a great game coach is that my father was blind and this was the first game he was ever able to watch."

I share this story, not as some cheesy, feel-good tidbit for your day, although it might fit the bill, but more because it hit me sideways just a few minutes ago. To use a football term, it pancaked me - the term used when you get hit so hard you're flat like a pancake (or waffle if the guy is wearing cleats).

Why did this story strike a chord in me? Simply because it echoed of the heavenly story. If we latch on to the fact that we are ridiculously loved, loved audaciously, fanatically, and against all odds, great things become possible. Maybe even impossible things.

I get so hung up on sin, guilt and shame that I do my heavenly father the discredit of not meditating on his great love. In the cross story we see love at it's deepest and purest form: God taking on all of our sin and brokenness and feeling his infinite wrath for it. Why did he do it? Because he passionately loved people like you and me.

When we become enchanted by this reality (enchanted by reality, hmm...), great things are possible. My problem is that I pursue the great things without the assurance of this sort of love. I've spent a life-time of keeping this sort of love at arms length. A friend of mine once said that being loved like that is just too painful.

And it is painful. Painful because there is nothing we have earned, merited or achieved about this kind of love. It is solely a one-way thing. And if we're able to take time to meditate on it we are left stunned by the fact that it's unbelievable. That's why I think calling myself a believer is sort of like calling myself a Astro-Physicist. I have no real idea what I'm talking about. The love that I believe in shatters boundaries that I didn't even know were there.

The love I believe in is impossible, but that's just why it makes the impossible possible.

1 comment:

Taylor said...

I love that story! As your brother who does follow football, a few corrections: he would have fielded the kick-off, not field goal, and it is end zone, not inzone. :)