The One True Champion
With the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams just a few days away, I’ve been reflecting on where I was 10 years ago when I got the opportunity to cheer on my team, the Arizona Cardinals at Super Bowl XLIII.
As a season ticket holder since 2002, I dreamed of the day that I would watch a playoff game at home. That dream came true not once, but twice in January 2009 when the Cardinals hosted the Atlanta Falcons in Glendale, beat them, then went on to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship, also on our home turf. At the end of that game, I remember thinking, “What just happened?”
Arizona fans were all in shock, but we celebrated like there was no tomorrow! Knowing this could be a “once in a lifetime” opportunity (ouch! saying that out loud kinda hurts), my father and I decided to make the trip to Tampa Bay to watch the Cardinals take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
February 1, 2009 was everything I thought it would be. The Super Bowl pregame parties were awesome, but the atmosphere in the stadium was hard to describe. Thrilling and uneasy. Electric and restless. The game went back and forth, and with a little more than 2 minutes left, the Cardinals miraculously took the lead! My section was filled with long time Cardinals fans and we went crazy. What a moment, and I was getting to experience all of this with my father at my side. At the same time, I had a sick feeling in my stomach that there was too much time left on the clock. Unfortunately, that turned out to be true.
It was painful leaving the stadium that night, and it didn’t help seeing all of the Steeler fans celebrate around us. No one thought the Cardinals would make it to the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. I was so disappointed to be let down again. I wanted so badly to witness history in person. To tell you the truth, it stung to be so close and walk away a loser.
A New Perspective
Now 10 years later, because of what Jesus has done in my life, I can look back on those experiences, shake my head and smile. The way I view the world has dramatically changed, including football. Am I still a loyal fan? Absolutely. Does the game affect me the same way? Absolutely not. Christ has shown me that He is the One True Champion and that He will never let me down. He’s already won the big game and I share in that victory!
Jesus also opened my heart to the countless people around the world who don’t know about Him. After praying and asking God how I can help, He led me to start Living Water for the Thirsty, an organization that meets both the physical and spiritual needs of unreached people. Living Water for the Thirsty drills clean water wells in needy communities, then during well dedications, we share the Good News with the people there. In just three and half years, more than 22,000 people in Nepal and India now have access to clean water and more than 1,300 people have come to know Christ.
As I reflect on what truly matters, I’m so excited for the future of Living Water for the Thirsty and how it can make a difference in people’s lives. Not to say that football is bad. I love football and am inspired by the many players that use their platform to glorify God. But football games, even the biggest game of all, the Super Bowl, won’t matter 10 years from now let alone 10,000 years from now. What will matter is what we’ve done to help others meet Jesus, the One True Champion. In order to allow more people to hear about the Victory for them that can be secured through faith, we need more people to join us in our quest to make Jesus famous. Would you join us in living out the Great Commission for our King?