“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28 NKJV)
One frequent objection from Christians and unbelievers is that God doesn’t care about something as insignificant as a football game. Former NFL quarterback Fran Tarkenton wrote, “As a player…I never understood why God would care who won a game between my team and another. It seemed like there were many far more important things going on in the world. There were religious guys on both teams. If God gets credit for the win, does he also take blame for defeat?”4
It’s understandable that unbelievers would ask the question. With all the suffering and poverty in the world, why would God care about a football game? But Christians know our omnipresent and omniscient Creator has ordained everything and knows the end from the beginning. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. He knows our innermost thoughts. He knows our cares and our worries. He uses many things to His glory, including the murder of a child as well as a miraculous rescue of a child. God uses temptation and sin to His glory, and He uses victory and defeat to His glory. In this sense, God does care about football games, but not in the sense that He’s a Broncos or a Panthers fan.
He can and does use even the outcome of football games for His purposes. If God encourages us to do everything to His glory, doesn’t it include athletic performance, teamwork, and good sportsmanship?
“At the end of the day, everything is God’s plan and he cares about what we do,” Tebow said in an interview with Christianity Today.5 “He cares about our hearts, how we play the game, and how we treat people. He’s definitely involved with how we handle sports and not just the outcome of it. I’m proud when athletes mention God in any way. When they have an opportunity to mention God, I applaud them for doing it and having the courage to do so.”
Our relationship with Jesus Christ is personal. There are teachings that apply to Christians in general, but Christ is personally interested in me, you, and Tim Tebow. Praying in the Spirit honors God, even silent prayers about a football game before millions of people.