I’m a Steeler fan…born in Pittsburgh area…so Super Bowls in the 70’s, my teen years, were unbelievable memories as my beloved Steel Curtain smashed their way to an unprecedented 4 championships in 6 years. Awesome memories!
For a while though, Super Bowl Sunday also conjured up some terrible memories. You see, from late high school through college and into medical school, I made many poor choices leading to a significant alcohol addiction. Worst memory ever: Jan 25, 1987, Super Bowl Sunday…middle of medical school, an awesome future ahead of me. It started off at a party with a bunch of med school friends. Through a series of progressively stupider decisions…consuming lots of alcohol, winning $600, more “celebrating” at a strip bar, driving drunk (after a snow and ice storm), 6 counts of aggravated assault, a cut, bruised and battered body…I ended up in a Newark jail. Could’ve gotten killed or worse, killed others, several times that day.
Jail…it was what I needed at that time to protect me from myself, Satan, and the world…it was a great place to think. And God really spoke to me. I finally listened and was able to realize that life according to my instruction book…my kingdom come, my will be done mentality…wasn’t working. My hole kept getting deeper and deeper over a 10-year stretch. I finally understood what Jesus did for me, and what God wanted to do in my life…transform me and bless me with an abundant life by fulfilling all my needs. I started to really know, love, and delight in my Lord.
Well, it took me several years to sort it out and really appreciate that day, and now I look back and thank God so much for what He has done for and through me. My terrible memories of that one Super Bowl Sunday have been wiped clean with the blood of Christ. What He has blessed me with since then…spiritual growth, marriage, my girls, friends, profession, ministry, coworkers, experiences, has been beyond my wildest dreams, especially compared to being in jail facing felony charges. (Not testing God, I make sure I am in a safe place Super Sunday.)
Today, realize each decision, regardless how big or small, has definite ripples. Second, if you are experiencing difficulties, hope is in the Lord, not your efforts or abilities. Third, if you have done some terrible things in the past, God will forgive and help you move forward, using even those events in powerful ways to impact you, others, and His kingdom. Enjoy the game.
Dear Father God, You, Your love, and grace are truly amazing. I thank You for not leaving me even though I left You many times. Thanks for landing me in jail, so I finally could meet You and listen to what You had been trying to tell me for many years. Thanks for the tremendous opportunity to serve You and for Your willingness to use me in Your service…it is truly humbling. I pray this in the name of the One I delight in, Jesus Christ; And all God’s children say – AMEN!
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.