Being a life-long Alabama Crimson Tide fan, watching last weekend’s Iron Bowl between Alabama’s Tide and Auburn’s War Eagles was both exasperating and exhilarating. For those of you who didn’t see it, let me recap…
Alabama led early, but after two quarters and two interceptions thrown by Alabama quarterback Blake Sims, the #1 ranked Crimson Tide was behind going into halftime. At the beginning of the third quarter, Sims threw yet another interception right out of the gate, which Auburn soon after turned into another touchdown.
At this point in the game, Crimson Tide fans all around the country were screaming at their TV sets for Coach Nick Saban to replace Sims with backup quarterback Jake Coker. Enough is enough! Let’s get some fresh blood in there and get something going before the game is hopelessly lost!
However, to the chagrin of many watching the spectacle, when Alabama once again got the ball, Sims ran out onto the field, ready to take his spot behind the center.
Tide fans everywhere were befuddled. Had Coach Saban lost it? Was he purposely trying to lose the game? Was this going to be a remake of Iron Bowl 2013, and the famous “Kick Six“?
Three minutes later, Sims threw a touchdown pass, closing the score gap to six points. Auburn kicked another field goal a few minutes later, and Auburn’s score began to inch up once again.
Then it happened…
With a new-found confidence fostered by a coach who believed in his ability, Sims began to connect with his receivers. Over the next 15 minutes of play, the Crimson Tide scored four unanswered touchdowns, and went on to win what would be the highest-scoring Iron Bowl in the history of that rivalry… 55-44.
Now, you might be saying, “Well Pastor, congrats on your team winning, but what in the world does that have to do with anything in my life? I don’t even like football.” Bear with me a minute…
What if Coach Saban had pulled Blake Sims out of the game after his third interception, or even his second? What if Blake Sims had lost all confidence because his coach and teammates lost faith in him? What if they had switched to another plan in the middle of the game?
The fact is that Coach Saban saw something in Sims that eluded the rest of us (and probably Sims himself). He probably knew that replacing Sims would mean deviating from a plan he believed in — a plan he believed would make them the winning team at the end of the night. Trusting his instincts and what he knew and believed about Sims, he defied “reason” and the mob mentality, and chose not to throw Sims under the bus, but to show him he still believed in him.
And it paid off. At the end of the night, Alabama fans everywhere had 55 reasons they were thankful for Blake Sims.
YOU are on a team, and you have a coach named Jesus Christ. You’ve had some victories, but you’ve stumbled, slipped, thrown bad passes, interceptions, and fumbled the ball on more than one occasion. You are bruised, bloody, and beaten down. Honestly… you’re not much to look at, and people around you have serious doubts in your abilities and worth.
But you have a Coach who believes in YOU. You have someone on your side who, over and over again, will pick you up, dust you off, and send you back out there into the fray.
“Why? Is Coach Jesus just sadistic? Does He enjoy watching me get beat up every time I turn around?”
Not at all. Sure, He knows you. He sees your flaws, knows your failures, and sympathizes with your struggles.
But He also knows what you are capable of. He has a plan in which you are an integral part. Paul said in Romans…
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. ~ Romans 11:29
That means God’s call on your life is not dependent upon your fumbles and missteps. His calling is irrevocable, and He makes no apologies for keeping you in the game. When we think it is difficult or impossible to trust our faithfulness, He reminds us that our relationship with Him is about trusting His grace. What we have to do is trust Him, and believe in His call and His wisdom for our lives and destiny.
So cheer up! You may be bruised and banged-up, but if you are reading this now, it means you are still breathing, still full of life, and still IN THE GAME! It’s time to start believing in the One who called you, for His calling is sure, and He’s never going to be sorry He did. Game ON!
Oh, and… ROLL TIDE!