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“God Bless,” The Final Blessing of a True Christian

Tebow Something happened today that has not happened in 9 years: Alabama won the SEC Championship.

Something happened today that has not happened in 3 years: Alabama scored 32 points against Florida. The last team to score more than 30 points against Florida was Michigan in the January 1, 2008, Citrus Bowl game. (Michigan won 41-35.)

Most importantly, something happened today that has not happened in over a year: Florida lost. Their last loss was to Ole Miss on September 27, 2008, 31-30. After that game, Tim Tebow showed his character. Like a true Christian should, he took responsibility for his mistakes in that game … and vowed to do better. He went on to lead Florida to both an SEC and a national title that year.

Not this year.

This year, both Florida and the Tide were 12-0 going into the SEC championship game. This year, Alabama had a bone to pick. A Tebow-n. Alabama was relentless from the opening drive—they led Florida the entire game, at one point a 2 point lead that grew to an ultimate 19 point lead. Alabama allowed Tebow only one touchdown drive, and Alabama shut Florida out 13-0 in the second half. It was total domination; it was Alabama football.

Tebow was crying before the game was even technically over, and understandably so, this was his first loss in over a year. And this loss was a complete loss. In 2008, Ole Miss came from behind for the upset. Today, Alabama darted in front of the Florida Gators and were upsetting them from the very beginning. Tebow did not personally have a good game, either. Tebow threw for 20-35 and had only one touchdown pass. He also had one interception. He also rushed for only 63 yards. (Bama has yet to allow a 100+ rushing game to an opponent this season.)

But this blog focuses on “Things That Are Above,” and the reason I’ve given you all the technical details I dare is to get it into your mind how monumental it was for Tebow to congratulate the Tide on a job well done through a film of tears after the game, to shake the hands of a coach who outsmarted him (and his own coaches, of course) and the hands of a first-year-starter quarterback who had a better night than he—a Heisman winner—did. This loss humbled Tebow, but his already-ingrained humility came through in his post-game comments. Tebow could have ranted and raved; he could have complained about the referees, he could have questioned his coaches’ play calling, he could have even blamed the loss on his fellow teammates (particularly Florida’s defense). But no. Tebow gave Bama credit where credit was due. And Tebow congratulated the WHOLE Alabama Crimson Tide team. Not insincerely, but humbly. There were tears in his eyes, but Tebow did not grit his teeth at all. Tebow responded to a momentous loss as only a true Christian could.

When the CBS newswoman started to interview Tebow, I myself thought: “This is where he will slip up. I don’t want him to, but how could he not? This was the worst game he has EVER played.” I didn’t have faith in Tebow at that moment, but Tebow’s faith in God came through. I am reminded here of Romans 5:3-5:

… we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Tebow’s character was not produced tonight, but through all the sufferings he’s gone through before. Tonight proved Tim Tebow’s endurance, and it proved his character. Only a Christian could glorify God as he did even in the jaws of defeat. Ultimately, Tebow lived out the message on his eye paint tonight:

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Even in the jaws of defeat, even as tears adorned his eyes, Tim Tebow took heart with the knowledge that his Lord and Savior has indeed “overcome the world.”

Thank you, Tim Tebow, for relying upon our gracious God to be gracious in your defeat. Thank you for modeling the proper Christian response to adversity. And thank you, Tebow, for saying “God bless” … and meaning it.

And, in keeping in line with Tebow’s own final words, I leave you, dear reader, with the greatest blessing. “God bless.”

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