Last Saturday morning my usual football Saturday routine was disturbed....disturbed by the sudden presence of some watery substance welling up in my eyes. Here's why:
I am sure than almost all of you are aware of the Penn State scandal, so I won't rehash the details. The fact is, I don't have the stomach for the details. I couldn't even get past the third page of the grand jury report (and no, I'm not going to link it) because it turned my stomach and also was beginning to get into details that I don't believe I should be letting into my mind. But the things that happened there are abominable, and it is hard to see how anything good could come from it.
But the God of the universe is bigger than even this and he is sovereign. He can make good out of anything. Scripture after Scripture reveals how he makes all things work together for good, which is to say, to bring him glory. I don't know all the ways he is going to work in this situation, but I know one.
So...Saturday morning. I was watching ESPN College Game Day as usual, when suddenly they began making their picks at around 10:30...15 minutes early. What's up with that? And then Lee Corso donned the Stanford headgear (btw, great pick coach!) at 10;45 and they were done. I checked every clock in the place - I was confused.
And then I knew why. They cut to Penn State to cover the pregame festivities because it was, after all, the biggest story in the country. My first thought - a little morbid to do that. Well, after a few minutes of coverage, they showed the most amazing thing I have ever seen on a football field. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, please watch:
As the stadium went quiet and everyone - everyone - on the field gathered for the prayer, my eyes welled up. It wasn't just a show of religion on a football field; we see those all the time and it's hard to know what's real and what's show. This one was obvious. In the face of great adversity, God showed up. And it was powerful.
One more video hammers the point home. This one is raw footage from on the field where we can actually hear the prayer being led by a Nebraska coach. (The fact that it was led by the visiting team makes it even more remarkable to me - he was praying for his suffering brothers.) This was no formality, or... You know what? I'm going to stop rambling and let you watch:
"Father, thank you for being a God who loves us despite all our failings. Thank you for the comfort, hope, and love you give when we are hurting most. I know that there are thousands of your children in State College who are hurting because of the things that happened in their midst - some of them are friends of mine. I pray for the children who were the victims of the atrocities, and also for the entire community. Thank you for taking just a few moments Saturday to show them that you are there, you love them, and you will bring healing. Amen"