I like Tim Tebow. He is a remarkable person and I’m thankful that he is doing what he is doing. We could very easily have been deprived of his influence in the world due to the fact that while his mother Pamela was carrying him in her womb, she suffered a life-threatening infection with a pathogenic amoeba. Because of the drugs used to rouse her from a coma and to treat her dysentery, the fetus experienced a severe placental abruption. Doctors had expected a stillbirth and recommended an abortion to protect her life, although abortions are illegal in the Philippines, but she decided not to have one. Thus, the world, the Church, and the football field has been privileged to see something, and someone, truly remarkable.
One of the things that draws me to Tim is the fact that he is a stark contradiction in a sport that is permeated with street thugs and other social riff-raff who have taken their thuggery and riff-raffery to a new level where it is displayed on an athletic field much to the amusement of the paying customer and the vegetative “wanna-be”. He is the proverbial “petunia, in the onion patch”, the “rose among the thorns”, the “guy with the white hat.”
Not only that, but the guy is absolutely amazing in what he accomplishes on that field. Not only does he amaze you, but he does it so spectacularly that some speculate (foolishly, I believe) that he has some special and miraculous powers from God Himself!
And in the midst of it all, true to his given name (Timothy means: One who honors God), he maintains a humble and winsome testimony for Christ both on and off the field. He is, indeed, a rarity … and a refreshing one at that. He has become something of the “poster boy” for Christians around the world who love him because he is a successful athlete, who is also a stand-up guy who stands for Jesus Christ without fear and without shame. So I like him.
I pray for Tim Tebow and I hope many of you do as well. I have never met him, never shaken his hand, and frankly I have never watched him play for more than a few short minutes. I could probably walk past him on the street and not recognize him. But I pray for him because I know that he is in peril…and because of his peril, the testimony of Christ is in jeopardy as well.
First of all, Tim is in peril from himself. I’m sure that he would be the first to tell us, and we must never forget this, that he is a man with a sinful nature, just like every one of the rest of us. He is vulnerable to the old nature. He struggles with it every day. Most of us who have been Christians for any length of time know that we … our own sinful tendencies … our deceitful hearts … are the greatest threats we face in the day to day living of the Christian life. Every day, far more times than he sets up under the Center in the course of a game … Tim sets up under the Holy Spirit’s prompting and executes the plays of his life. Each time there is the risk of losing yardage and even being sacked. Tim is not perfect. He is not flawless. He is a sinner saved by grace. He lives his life each day with the potential of disaster hovering in the shadows. Because he “represents us … as Christians”, and because of his unique position in our society and the tremendous attention that is focused upon him … we must pray that he would have consistent victory over himself.
But there is another source of peril. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Tim has created something of a polarization of our society. There are those who love the guy … and there are those who hate him. Hate him? Yes, or at least they hate that which Tim represents! One only needs to read the vitriol spewed forth in the media, and in the comment feeds on various websites to gauge the heat of that hatred. It is worth noting that Tim is not alone. It seems that whenever someone rises above the sludge and sewage that so characterizes much of our society there are those with filthy grasping hands and lying septic mouths who will, with all their energy, seek to topple them and drag them through the muck. That is what politics is all about, after all … isn’t it?
If Tim Tebow were to fall, to fail … to do something inconsistent with his testimony, there are those who would seize upon it with devilish delight and screams of mockery and shrieking derision and innuendo in order to destroy the man and to discredit his testimony.
Even more sinister than that, however; and I do not believe that this is beyond the scope of reality at all; there are those who, because of their insane hatred, would plot, and actively seek to create the circumstances designed to destroy the man, to assassinate his character and to discredit his testimony just as the Middle Eastern terrorist secretly plots his heinous crimes.
With the obvious bent toward sensationalism on the part of the biased media in this country, either of these perils could conceivably deal a staggering blow to “Our Team.”
So, as a member of “The Team”, when you think of Tim Tebow, don’t waste time praying for another win on the football field. There is much more at stake here than a Conference, or Superbowl title. Pray that God would strengthen Tim in his spirit and give him a growing understanding of His will. Pray that Tim would be fortified against the temptations of the flesh, the world and the Devil. Pray that Tim would walk close to the Savior in spite of all the distractions that must seek to draw him away each day. Pray that God would put a hedge of protection around him so that he might not fall victim to the nefarious schemes of those who would take delight in snaring him. Pray that God would surround him with a network of reliable men who can … and will … provide a safety net of accountability. Pray that Tim will finish the game in as glorious a fashion as he has begun!