Yesterday I read about the NFL receiver who blamed God after he dropped the game-winning pass. He was open and standing all alone in the end zone, and the pass was on target. His team lost, and I am sure he felt as bad as Bill Buckner did when he booted an easy grounder in the world series when he was the Red Sox first baseman. Or that umpire who made a horrible call last year and robbed that pitcher of a perfect game.
Anyway, this wide receiver blamed God for the dropped pass. He said that he has been praising and serving God faithfully, and this is how He rewards him? His tone was angry, and he said this is an offense he will not forget. That last part sounded almost like a threat.
What an idiot! First off, God did not drop the pass–he did. Did God allow him to drop the pass? Of course. Could God have stopped him from dropping it? Undoubtedly. This knucklehead jock needs a lesson in divine providence. God is indeed totally sovereign. He is in absolute control and works all things after the counsel of His will. Nothing happens in the universe–evil and natural disaster included–apart from His will. Why he allows the rain to fall on the just and unjust alike may seem confusing to us, but that makes it no less true.
The assumption behind our objections is that if we serve God then He owes it to us to not allow anything bad to come into our lives. Such an attitude is a bit more understandable when we see a godly person stricken with cancer, raped, or murdered. But in the grand scheme of things, how important is a dropped pass? Truth be told, there were probably many others who prayed that the player in question would fumble it.
A few years ago a crabbing boat out of our little town of Blaine, Washington, went down in the Bering Sea. The boat simply never showed up at the processing boat with its load, as scheduled, and all radio contact was lost. The coast guard responded to the emergency beeper found floating in about four-hundred feet of water, and all the crab pots were loaded and unpicked. The boat had capsized and sank while all the crew were asleep, and in the twenty-eight degree water they had no chance of survival.
One of the crew members was the son of one of our church elders. I remember the days and weeks following the tragedy. It is always a terrible thing to lose someone this way, but even worse when there are no remains to bring home and give a proper burial. Fortunately, the lost son was a believer, and his mom and dad knew heaven was his home. But they struggled with how God could have allowed such a thing to happen to them. To them the thought of someone blaming God for a dropped pass would seem insulting.
But this man used to argue with me about the sovereignty of God in general, and about unconditional election and predestination specifically. Now he was faced with a situation in which the doctrine of divine sovereignty took on a deeper meaning. We spent many hours praying and talking over coffee. As a father of four young sons at the time I could imagine in a small way his anguish. Here is the conclusion we arrived at. If God is not absolutely sovereign over all which comes to pass, then sinking boats are no different, really, from dropped passes. They are random acts with no real meaning in the universe. Sh*# happens and that is that. It is what it is. Why ask why? If God is not in control then there is no one to trust, no one to lean on. If God is in control then He has a reason for everything he permits to happen–even though that ultimate purpose is hidden from our sight.
The bottom line is that God does not need to run anything by us, and when He allows adversity to touch us He owes us no explanation. When some brain-dead professional athlete blames God for a dropped pass, it shows he is ignorant of the true nature of God as well as the many blessings God has already allowed him to enjoy.