For me, Superbowl Sunday was a bust even before Peyton Manning stepped onto the football field - before the first snap sailed past his head. Sure, it had started out great. I got up early, adorned myself with a pink flowery apron, and was humming in praise to Jesus while baking sticky buns for my family. February "LOVE" sticky buns! Look out Julia Child! I'm about to make a breakfast like no other! WOO!!! However, as those sticky buns began to rise in the oven, so grew my sciatic and arthritic pain. The longer I remained upright, the lesser I felt in control of my limbs. My legs started giving out due to my all-too-common pain problems. Oh no! I then noticed it was raining outside. The kind of rain that brings atmospheric changes that tend to intensify the instability of my weak legs. Sigh. I guessed I wouldn't be making February "LOVE" eggs and bacon after all. So, I set out the sticky bun tray to cool, covered my lower back in prescription Lidocaine patches, and took "the little" pain pill my doctor prescribed for such an occasion as this. Note: I didn't want to take the "big" pain pill. No, that pill knocks me out! With the little pill, I could still make the 10:30 service at church. Come on, little pill... kick in and give me just enough relief to walk upright!
Patience. Now that's an important subject to talk about at church. Patience is something I lack greatly. It is definitely a gift from God. Yes, I knew I needed me a good sermon on some "Patience" this past Superbowl Sunday. But alas, because of my pain, I finally had to accept that I would have to patiently wait for the podcast version rather than sit in my favored middle pew. Sigh. Stupid Superbowl Sunday! What a bummer you were turning out to be! As the pain radiated in intensity down my right leg, so emanated my bad attitude. No, I would not be going to church at 10:30. I would not be going anywhere for a while. Sigh.
My wonderful husband Chuck, with sticky bun in hand, decided it was best that we stay home and have "mini-church" together. He kindly began reading to me about the things of the Lord and we prayed together. (I married way up, by the way.) Once finished, he soothed me with reassurances that later we would be going to the Superbowl party at our neighbors. There Peyton Manning would do his job and the world would be set straight again. Ah, Peyton. I can always count on you to bring me a good game. Yes, yes... Peyton would bring it! This day would turn out ok. I would just have to get a handle on my pain and change my attitude. "Lord, you can help me with that right?" (Nothing.) "I mean now, Lord!" (Still nothing.) "LORD!?!?!?!"
The party started around 4:00 pm. Everyone brought yummy munchies and sweets to enjoy. The party was full and hopping.... or so I imagined. For earlier I had decided that I needed the BIG pill. And when I regained consciousness, the time on my clock read 6:30pm and my husband had walked four houses down without me, allowing me to sleep off my sedative.
6:30!!!! AAAAHHHH! I grabbed my cell phone and called my husband. He answered in monotone. "Is everything ok?" I asked. "Yup." he replied. "How's the game going?" (Pause.) "Honey???"
Chuck quietly answered, "Denver is getting creamed by Seattle."
"WHAT????, I better get over there right now!"
Momba had decided to stay home and watch the game and keep tabs on me. I scurried (yes, I scurried) to her room and announced, "I'm going to the party." She replied without flinching, "Denver is losing."
"Yes, I know... put on your Steelers jersey if you are coming." (We are really Steelers fans, but were rooting for Denver.)
Fifteen minutes later Momba was acting as my human cane and walking slowly with me to our neighbor's home. When we arrived, halftime was just ending and everyone at the party seemed somber. The game had just resumed and the tone of the room was all criticism towards Denver's poor performance. Apparently, not even the commercials had lived up to their hype. My husband helped me get comfortable in a cushy seat, and I expressed regret for my lateness to the group.
What followed was one disappointment after another. Stupid Superbowl Sunday!!! One commercial after another... some good, some not so good... nothing great, except (of course) Tim Tebow's. (Ha ha... that guy cracked me up.) The anti-climactic game spread a tone across our party like a dead fish. Why even sit through it? Why go on? Why did this day have to be such a disappointment, Lord? Why is everything sooooo frustrating???
At eleven minutes left in the game, we came back from ANOTHER bad commercial. The cameraman panned a live view of the stadium. Ever so briefly, I noticed the crowds, the players, the scores. And then I noticed something else. There they were: the Bronco cheerleaders. And what were they doing? Naturally, leading in cheer. There in the midst of all this frustration and disappointment, they cheered on. They did their job. Their team would not win unless miracles happened on the clock. Their fans would most definitely walk away unhappy. But they cheered. They motivated. They offered hope in hopelessness. Through playtime or timeouts, those Denver cheerleaders cheered, "Go team!"
It was then that Holy Spirit's still small voice spoke back to me, "GO TEAM, Victoria."
Isn't that just like God? At the moment we feel we are at our greatest loss, when we are timed-out from the enemy's powerful offense and barricading defense... God still wants us to rejoice and cheer one another on. "Go team!" Disappointments will come and go, but we are still to do our job and rejoice!
Sure, this past Superbowl Sunday Denver lost BIG! But that really won't change Peyton's standing as one of the all-time greatest, now will it? Equally, we may have a temporary loss in life: a bad day... a broken relationship... unemployment... health discouragements. But our value in Christ does not change, now does it? The war is already won and our Quarterback definitely has delivered. Our stats will always prove victorious for we are blessed with Jesus advancing our game. So, who cares if we have to take one for the team every now and then? What does it matter if the enemy walks away with a small trinket/trophy showing how he decimated a few of our moments? So what if we don't meet every expectation or feel particularly hopeful this hour? We have an eternity with Jesus to look forward to, believers! We ultimately win!!! So, stop sighing in frustration and start encouraging one another. Start motivating. Start cheering on God's kingdom joyfully... always!
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” (Psalm 40:16)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
It was a stupid Superbowl Sunday, folks. Nothing went as planned. Nothing turned out as expected.
But, in Christ... "GO TEAM!"