Summer 2024

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Friday, October 2

“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” — 1 Kings 19:11-13

The Underdog

Doesn’t everyone love a nice underdog story? The Davids and Goliaths, Israelites fleeing Egyptian bondage, and countless other Biblical stories that reflect God’s strength in human weakness. Ultimately, all of history revolves around God sending a child, baby Jesus, to save the world.

Maybe this is why our heart strings are tugged a little harder when we see the unlikely heroes prevail? However, underdog victories seem incredibly improbable at the start of each story. For example…

Vince Papale tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976, without college football experience. Papale made the team, demonstrating the imaginable can come true. Speaking of Philly, I recall a backup quarterback, Nick Foles, that led the underdog team to a Super Bowl victory in 2018. Both of these scenarios seemed laughable until the results proved extraordinary.

In 1 Kings 19, God told Elijah to stand on the mountain to experience the Lord’s presence. At first glance, I’d assume God was present in what seemed most powerful to the human eye — the shattering wind, booming earthquake and blazing fire. However, God was not backing any of these disastrous forces. “After the fire came a gentle whisper” is when Elijah experienced the presence of God.

What does this say about sports and culture? From society’s perspective, it may seem as though the loudest, strongest and most profound are inevitably headed for success. However, God doesn’t need a grand entrance for His work to take place because He is constantly working behind closed doors. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). The most grandiose earthly campaign is microscopic in comparison to one whisper from God.

Is a quiet whisper going to draw everyone’s attention? No, not unless everyone is keenly focused on the Whisperer. In times of chaos, we must quiet the outside noise to listen, obey and observe God’s work. His voice might not be plastered on every social media site, news network or front-page cover. However, like a quiet whisper, He is orchestrating the ultimate game plan and putting together a roster composed of unbeatable underdogs.

— Karlie Smith

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