I have to admit I watched some of the Broncos Patriots game tonight. I probably watched all of about ten minutes, and I think I watched some of one other game. I’ve watched a few interviews with Tebow and watched a video when he was recorded as he talked during the game to players, etc. That’s about it for my direct knowledge of Tebow.
I have a lot of second-hand knowledge. Mainly because my Facebook feed blows up with comments about him after every game. He does seem to be a polarizing character in our culture. There is almost a litmus test among some as to the strength of our faith based on our admiration of Tebow.
This makes me nervous. Now, don’t get me wrong. Everything I have seen or read about Tebow himself points to a young man of character, of humility and of genuine faith. What makes me nervous is how he is being pushed into the limelight as such an example of faith. We should celebrate that this is a young man who is a great example, and we should be thrilled that there is a strong Christian in sports to look up to. He’s not the only one, but he’s a great example. However, I am nervous for him about the turn of the tide if he does not maintain success…and tonight was a bit of a taste of that.
I have boys. Three of them. The oldest is ten and he is a sports fan. He’s aware of Tim Tebow, although not obsessed with him. We’ve talked a bit about the way Tebow has been confident in his faith and has been more than that humble and kind in how he has interacted with people.
Tebow has been a source of conversation about our faith, and that is wholly good.
While I’ve been listening to the discussion on Tebow in the background, I’ve been reading the biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, listening to a series of lectures by Gideon Strauss about the Truth and Reconcilition Commission and thinking about heroes of the faith. Gideon’s lectures talk about the horrors of Apartheid, about the way he moved from Wonder to Heartbreak to Hope as he translated these stories while reading through the Psalms. The stories leave you speechless.
Listening to the stories of Bonhoeffer and Strauss have everything to do in my mind with Tebow.
I am thrilled that my oldest, Zachary, has a chance to have a role model in sports who is not ashamed of the Gospel. I am thrilled that he has an example to look to of a strong young man living strongly in the faith. However, it is a sense of the celebrity and celebration of the faith. There is a sense of the “success” of a Christian, and there is a hesitancy for me with that.
See, I watch my son who live vicariously through many things. He has an avatar he uses to play role-playing games where he blows things up or lives out some other fantasy in amazing graphics and with great success. When he is not doing that he dreams of being an NHL star. He watches these stars and dreams of being able to live that life. He talks big and dreams big, and that is what he should be doing, but he needs to be informed by more than just the successes of the stars.
There needs to be a side informing his faith that tells of those who have sacrificed greatly, those who have suffered greatly and those who have seen God be faithful in the midst of times of horror.
He needs to be tempered with the reality of the faithful…
The story Gideon shares is of deep suffering and of God meeting him in the midst of hearing story after story of deep suffering.
Zachary needs to hear this.
See, I think it is great that Tebow shares his faith. He has faced objections and ridicule, but he is paid well and he also faces great appreciation and admiration. It is sad that it is remarkable that in that setting he is strong in the faith. In a time when people are hungry for something good and something to celebrate, he has been a wonderful distraction. It’s great for Zachary to see that.
I’m wandering a bit in my thoughts….but the point I’m trying to bring across is this:
Praise God for Tim Tebow. Praise God for his testimony, and for his faithfulness and for his willingness to be paraded as an example of faith.
Oh, but weep and be struck to no words before God as we think of those who have endured such deep suffering at the hands of humans who have hated…and who have yet found God to be faithful.
And even more so, be humbled and silenced by the testimony of those who have gone willingly into suffering to minister and to share the name of God.
So, I pray that my boys and my Madeleine will know that there is such a rich history around them of saints, and I pray that they will listen well to the words of each of these. Those who have walked in ease and been faithful in plenty and success, and those who have walked in pain and been faithful in fear and yet held on to hope.