S TEVE JOHNSON, a receiver for the Buffalo Bills, dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass a couple of weeks ago. What made this drop newsworthy is where he placed the blame. The following appeared on his Twitter log: "I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS????? I'LL NEVER FORGET THIS!!!! EVER!!!!! THX THO".
It's quite a different message from what appeared the week before, when he caught eight passes for 137 yards, scored three touchdowns and his team beat the Cincinnati Bengals. On that day, he tweeted: "JUST GOES TO SHO GOD IS GOOD N REAL! KEEP THE FAITH THRU GOOD N BAD".
It is obvious that on both occasions, Steve's emotions were at opposite ends of the spectrum. I don't know Steve Johnson personally, but I believe that he is a great player and a very nice young man. What I do know is that the statements made on Twitter speak volumes about how our culture views the place of God in our everyday affairs as it relates to the ultimate goal of life. On one side, God's awesomeness is based on how the situation looks at the moment. When things are going well (winning, getting stuff, having the approval of others), God is good! But, let the tables turn (losing stuff, and in the case of Steve Johnson, dropping stuff, and being rejected by others) and God seems to be, at best, unconcerned, and, at worst, the cause of our dilemma.
Even though this seems to be an age-old problem, it doesn't mean that it is any less crucial to our understanding and expectation of God's intervention in our lives. God addresses the issue of his nature and his goal for each one of us, especially those who are Christians in the book of Romans, Chapter 8: "And we know that [verse 28] God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. [Verse 29] For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren."
These verses, I believe, sum up the question of why things happen in our lives, as well as the ultimate goal of those things. For example, in verse 28, it is clear that God is the one ultimately in control of all life's activity, whether by allowing things to happen, or by initiating their occurrences. As we go further into the verse we see that all these things are being allowed for our good. To some, this is the sticking point, because the phrase "all things" includes things we have decided to be bad. The problem lies, I believe, in our finite interpretation of what is good. Verse 29 defines the word good as being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ in character and disposition, which means God's goal for each one of us to become more loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, good, faithful, humble, and self-controlled. None of these goals has anything to do with a job, car, Christmas presents, fame, wealth, the admiration of others, winning, losing, catching, or dropping a football.
We've all dropped the ball at some point in our lives, and like Steve, some of us let that negative circumstance dictate our definition of God. We never seem to think about how that one drop made us a much better player. In this game of life, we must remember that even though our circumstances change from day to day, the truth of Romans 8:28-29 has lasted, and will last through all eternity. God does not differentiate between good and bad. It's all good!