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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Let's Get Wild

Super Bowl Sunday. A bad time to visit my friend who had been ill for several weeks. As I entered his hospital room, I heard the television. Thunderous cheers swallowed up my greeting when more than 78,000 fans screamed and stomped their feet over a touchdown.

I raised my voice, “Hey, Jim. Sounds like an exciting game.”

“I guess so. Just something to watch.”

“If we could only get that excited about God. Wow.”

“Leon, do you think all those people get bothered about God like you do?”

“Probably not.”

“People get excited about things they like.”

“What did you say?”

“The crowd yells and screams and spills beer on everybody around them because they love football.”

“Jim, you’re a philosopher. That’s it!”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it! They get wild — because they love football.”

“So?”

“So, my dear friend, if we loved God that much, we ... what, Jim?”

He just smiled and half-laughed.

After my visit with him, I read Psalm 41 and discovered something about the psalmist. He was passionate about his God:

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” (Psalm 42:1 NIV)

He hungered for a taste of God’s presence. That intense craving for God is what C. S. Lewis called an “appetite for God.” (Reflections on the Psalms, p. 51).

The psalmist’s longing for God intensifies. First, he calls him, “God,” then, “the living God,” and finally, he begs to see “the face of God.” David shared that Super Bowl fervor. He was wildly bothered about his God.

When it comes to football, all my family are Super Bowl fans. I asked my grandchildren why they loved football so much.

One said, “All the rough and tough stuff, especially the tackle.”

Another one, “The physical stamina of the players.”

Another added, “I like to see them pile on top of each other, like a human pyramid.”

My family also gets excited about playing the game, Catch Phrase. One night when playing, one of my words was “Hail, Mary.” I gave enough clues for my team to get “Mary,” and then I gave the clue, “Signal for a cab.” My team guessed it. Then the family filled “our stadium” with spontaneous “touchdown” roaring laughter.

I sat there dumbfounded till my young granddaughter said, “You don’t get into football much, do you, Papa? ‘Hail, Mary’ is when a quarterback in the last few seconds of the game throws a pass to several receivers in the end zone.”

Not to be outdone, I said, “Oh, so football is a religious game!”

When I went to see Jim later, he was sitting up in bed. Not watching TV, but reading a Bible.

“Leon,” he said, “I finally got bothered about God.” He had come to faith in Christ. And everyone in the hospital knew it. He shared his decision with a nurse, read the Gideon Bible, and tried to convert his physical therapist. No doubt about it. He had become wild about his God.

Three months later, the Lord took him home.

I miss him. We’d been friends for more than 10 years. Jim’s words haunt me - Do you think other people are bothered about God as you are? 

I found myself answering out loud: “No. Jim, unfortunately, they’re not.”

But suppose 78,000 Christians started shouting about a “spiritual touchdown” the ‘Lord had done in their lives. If we did, maybe others, like Jim, would see something in our lives to make them want to get wildly bothered about God.

Copyright © D. Leon Pippin, used with permission.

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