A coworker share the following with me (my apologies for not knowing the source for the entire conversation):
After Sunday's thrilling win over the Packers for a berth in the Super Bowl, an extremely emotional Russell Wilson thanked God for the victory. "God is too good all the time, man," Wilson told Erin Andrews of FOX Sports immediately after the win. "Every time."
Plenty of God-fearing Packers fans probably disagreed with that assessment. It's a question as old as sports. Does God have a rooting interest? Does He help one team (and in turn hurt another) through the micromanagement of His will?
As noted by Deadspin, Wilson elaborated on his belief that God made the win more interesting by deliberately creating the degree of difficulty in post-game comments to Peter King of TheMMQB.com.
"That's God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special," Wilson said regarding the sudden transformation from horrible performance to incredible performance. "I've been through a lot in life, and had some ups and downs. It's what's led me to this day."
Apart from assuming that God cares about who wins a sporting event, Wilson's theory assumes that God also wants to inflict extra misery on the team that mistakenly thought for more than 55 minutes of game time that God wanted that team, not the other one, to prevail.
Wilson is free to believe whatever he wants. And others are free to believe that God really isn't the ultimate puppet master, influencing the flight of a ball, the questionable decisions made by coaches and players, and/or the sudden inability of a backup tight end to catch an onside kick heading straight for his face.
Whatever Wilson or anyone else believes, I respect that. I personally choose to believe that God exists, that He loves the members of both teams equally, and that He has far better things to do than fix NFL games.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodger says "I don't think God cares a whole lot about the outcome. He cares about the people involved, but I don't think he's a big football fan."
So, who's right? And to what degree does God get involved in everyday events of life here on earth? Here are my thoughts:
The Bible is very clear that God is sovereign:
"Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases" (Psalm 115:3).
"... his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:34-35).)
God is also very involved in the everyday details of this world:
"A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way" (Proverbs 20:24)?
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care" (Matthew 10:29).
The Bigger Issue:
The problem I have with Russell Wilson's assessment on the win is that both he and Aaron Rogers are professing Christians. Did God on that day choose between two of His children to favor Wilson over Rogers with the NFC title win (and to then rub Rogers' nose in the loss)? Possibly, God is sovereign and nothing is too small for superintending (though the Lord is not petty and cruel as Wilson seems to hint at). But there's a bigger issue here.
More importantly, Wilson seems to be saying that God has brought about blessings after some rough times in Wilson's life. But I believe this is where he is wrong. If all God gives him is a trip to the Super Bowl, then Russell's getting short-changed. The Lord never promised earthly/temporary blessings to comfort us in the middle of the evil and hard times we experience. Instead, He gives us the very best--Himself.
Asaph, who wrote Psalm 73, was struggling with evil people all around him getting rich and being successful while it appeared that he continued to barely get along in life. However, the Lord did a work in Asaph's heart and at the end of the psalm he writes: "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works" (Psalm 73:25-28). Asaph's consolation and hope was God Himself and that's always enough. He didn't need a better retirement plan, retribution for past offenses or another trip to the Super Bowl.We need the reminder that Jesus Christ is ultimately all we need. If we go looking for other consolations, then something's taking His place. And that's idolatry.
The sports writer definitely has a limited view on God's sovereignty.
God provided food during a three year drought for one lonely widow, and her son, who was charged with the duty of feeding Elijah (see 1 Kings 17) and even made an axe head float back to the surface on the water for one of the prophets who had borrowed the tool to build a house for his fellow ministers (see 2 Kings 6). The Lord is Lord of all things—both great and small.
The significance here is that God uses His sovereignty to accomplish God-sized endeavors not our selfish and small dreams. The Lord influences the little details of life to bring about His purposes—not the win of His favorite team, but the furthering of His glory and the proclamation of the gospel.