In our examinations of this question – “Does God care who wins?” – we have identified that some dismiss this question offhand, saying something like “He has more important things to be concerned with.” In a previous blog, we examined the troubling assumption behind the answer as well the case for God’s concern for all of life, “every second, every square centimeter.”
In this blog, we want to look at another negative answer to our question that goes something like this – “God isn’t concerned with the outcome but how the game is played.” People who hold this position go on to say things like – “He isn’t really concerned about who wins or loses i.e. with the outcome of the game. He is concerned with the character that is displayed in the game.”
Do you see what these people have done? Going back to the previous blog, they have placed the outcome of the game on the ‘Unimportant to God’ list and the way the game is played on the ‘Important to God’ list. They have also said that not only is God not concerned with the outcome but also God is not concerned with the impact of the outcome of the game.
Yet, ask any player and they will tell you the outcome of a game can have significant impact on those who play. In my first PGA Tour School, I entered the final round needing to shoot a low score to qualify. I had the privilege of shooting the low round of the day, ending in a playoff with 4 other guys for 2 spots. It was a great thrill amidst the unusual pressure of this format. That thrill quickly dissipated as I lost on the first playoff hole. As a result, I didn’t make the tour. I would have to wait 6 months for another try. (These days the wait is a year.) Huge impact on my life? You better believe it. If I think God doesn’t care about that impact, then I am left wondering what impacts he does care about.
The trajectory of the lives of the winners of the 2010 World Cup of Soccer have been dramatically altered because of these events. So were the lives of the Buffalo Bills who lost four consecutive Super Bowls in the 90’s, according to one former player who was a part of all four.
Results affect life trajectory.
In a preparatory conversation Jesus had with his 12 disciples as he is about to send them out two by two, he knew they would be concerned with the results of their efforts while he warns them not to worry about someone who can hurt their physical bodies but rather to be concerned with “the one who can destroy both body and soul”. (Mt.10:28) In the face of this sobering result, he encourages them to remember “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father?” God is not only concerned with all, but he is in control of all.
Elsewhere, the apostle Paul echoes this thought as he states our Father is “over all, in all, and through all” (Ephesians 4:6) and he “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will’ (Ephesians 1:11).
Our God understands that outcomes have significant impact. Results affect life trajectory. That is why he exercises his power over “all” and “everything,” including the outcome of the game. He sees the impact of the outcome of the game on all who play and all who are touched by those who play and directs these after his will.
So once again, we are invited to open our eyes to see this magnificent God. This God not only gives meaning to all and is concerned about both the way the game is played. He also is concerned about the outcome of the game as that outcome and the impact of that outcome fit into his will.
This is the God who comforted me that day in Florida as I drove away from the course. “I am not only with you, I not only think this is important what happened today, but, Bob, I was in, over and through all that happened today. I was in the low round you shot, I was also in the playoff, over the playoff and through the playoff – all for my good, pleasing and perfect will for you.”
Does God care who wins” YES!!!! REALLY!