God, Please Make the Vikings Win the Super Bowl
He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45
I admit it. I’ve asked God to help my football team win. He certainly knows they need the help. At the time of my prayer, winning was just such an important thing. Looking back, it seems silly, but I still often ask God for divine assistance with things like this and I still often blame him in frustration when the world doesn’t go my way. I might not say it out loud, but there’s a part of me that expects faith to mean that God irons all the inconvenient and uncomfortable wrinkles out of my life.
This part of me thinks, What good is being a Christian if my life isn’t made any easier than the life of the one who doesn’t follow Christ? The very question itself reveals that it’s not Christ’s will that I’m following, but my own. In this state, I’m destined to be continually frustrated that my football team doesn’t always win, it’s not always warm and sunny outside, and I still have bad days.
In today’s passage, Jesus explains that this is just how God made the world to work. When it rains, the rain falls on both the good and the evil. When there’s a football game, one team will win, and one will lose. Half the fans will walk away disappointed and that has very little to do with whether those fans are Christians or not. Both sets of fans may pray for victory, but God doesn’t make them both win.
What good then, does it do to follow Christ? Is being a disciple all sacrifice and no reward? Thankfully, no. In following my own addictive, self-destructive path, I found misery and painful consequences. In abandoning my way for God’s, he didn’t make the sun shine every day, but he did cause me to find life, joy, and recovery, no matter what the weather.
My team may not win the super bowl because I follow God, but in following him, I plant and grow the seeds of his Spirit. As his Spirit grows in me, the fruit of that Spirit blossoms, and I am able to enjoy the peace, joy, and recovery that can be found only in him.