Saturday, June 15, 2013

A God of Second Chances

Tebowmania is back.

On June 11 the New England Patriots put smiles on every single ESPN executive when they announced the signing of the most polarizing sports athlete on the face of the planet – Tim Tebow.

You may recall that Tebow spent most of last year anguishing on the New York Jets bench as he watched incumbent QB Mark Sanchez lose game after game while setting the league record for most turnovers.

Tebow was erroneously told when he signed with the Jets that he would have the opportunity to compete for the starting QB job. He never got the chance because of his unorthodox style of play (he is a run first quarterback with below average throwing ability) and was released by the Jets just a few weeks ago.

It was being reported after his release that he assumed his football playing days were over and was considering a career in broadcasting.

A tough place to be for Tebow who as a collegiate player at Florida University won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and the BCS National Championship in 2007 and 2009. It was then that he became known for his Christian faith which permeated his life – he often thanked Jesus Christ after every game, a tradition he continues today. 

After graduating, he was drafted by the Denver Broncos as the 25th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. During the 2011 season he was inserted into the Broncos line up and asked to help resurrect a team that began the season 1-4. He won 7 of his first 8 games, many in dramatic fashion and propelled the Broncos to the AFC West division title and a wild card playoff win over the Pittsburg Steelers.

It appeared that Tebow would remain the starter in Denver at season’s end until the Indianapolis Colts decided to release QB Peyton Manning, the league’s only four-time MVP. Denver put its hat into the ring and won the Manning sweepstakes which sent Tebow packing to New York.

After a season to forget in New York, Tebow passed through NFL waivers and was not signed by any team. This prompted Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon to say that Tebow was not only finished playing in the NFL but that he also would not be a fit for the Canadian football league either because of his inability to throw the football at a professional level.  

Just when things looked bleak, his football career seemingly over after just three short seasons, football expert after football expert telling him he can't throw, ESPN talking heads gleefully discussing the demise of his flash pan career –  in walks Tebow’s white horse – Bill Belichick.

Most in the football universe consider New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick to be the best coach of his era with three Super Bowl trophies and the highest winning percentage in the NFL since 2001.

When news of the signing first broke, NFL analysts were shocked. Many thought it was an Internet joke. Not only was Tebow back in the NFL, the Patriots signed him as their third string QB which means he has the chance to compete to back up Tom Brady, the best QB of his generation.

How did all this happen? Many say it was because Belichick likes players who are versatile and can do more than one thing well on the football field. Others believe it was Josh McDaniels, the Patriots Offensive Coordinator who wanted Tebow because he was the one that drafted him in 2010 when he was Head Coach of the Broncos.

While these reasons have merit, I believe Tebow was signed because God gave him a second chance to play the sport he loves.

What is infinitely more interesting about Tebow other than his topsy turvy football career is his faith. Tebow was born in Makati City in the Philippines, to American parents who were serving as Baptist missionaries at the time. He is the youngest of five children, all of whom were homeschooled by their mother, who worked to instill the family's Christian beliefs along the way.

If you have had a chance to listen to any of Tebow’s interviews you would know that he puts Jesus Christ first in his life. He has become famously known for “Tebowing”, his touchdown celebration in which he kneels to pray after scoring. The NFL became enamored with him because of his unconventional style of play and his beliefs.

Tebow is a Christian first, pro football player second. Not an easy life to balance especially in a society where so many hate the Christian faith and the religious right is clamoring for someone to represent them.

But here is Tebow. On Monday he was out of football. On Tuesday he was signed by the premier  franchise in football. An amazing second chance granted from the God of second chances.

Is your life looking hopeless today? Is everyone calling you a failure?

Don’t believe it.

Take heart in a God that says He knows what you need before you even ask.
Take refuge in a God that whispers, “I will never leave you or forsake you."
Take confidence in a God that promises you a future and a hope.

And know that what is impossible with men IS possible with God.

"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:21-23)

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