The Anchoress is back after a brief hiatus and she’s weighing in reluctantly on the Tim Tebow phenomenon:
No one can possibly know if the freakish numbers accompanying yesterday’s game actually mean anything. Is it God being reassuring? Crafty leprechauns out to distract us from what is more important? Perhaps the numbers game is the underworld distorting issues of faith and prayer; perhaps it is the unwitting result of a collective-consciousness obsession.
Everyone will believe what they like, and we’re all free to. I tend to come down on the story somewhere between Shakespeare and a cockney philosopher: There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt in your philosophy, Horatio, and it’s a funny ol’ world, ain’t it?
Father James Martin, asked the question by the WaPo, goes full-Jesuit on the story:
All this raises the inevitable question, and one that I’ve been asked numerous times over the last few months: Is God answering Tim Tebow’s prayers?
Well, in good Jesuitical fashion the answer is: Yes, no, and I don’t know.
He’s right on all counts: yes, God is hearing and answering Tebow’s prayers, because he hears and answers all of our prayers. No, we cannot possibly understand what the answer really is, and being a public Christian is not a freepass to success, and who can know the mind of God, anyway?
Lost in all of this is the simple truth that a person’s relationship with God, no matter how publicly lived, is still profoundly personal and deeply, mysteriously unknowable.
I suspect Tebow, when he prays during a game, is praying “thy will be done” and “praise be to you”, and any contemplative will tell you that these simple prayers, when prayed regularly and heartfully before the start and end of every activity, become profound and intimate interactions.
But to many–perhaps to most–Tebow’s actions are interpreted to be little more than “God, help me complete this pass” and “Hey, thanks for the completed pass!” and, as Fr. Martin suggests, that view can easily mislead and distort the reality of Tebow’s faith and the whole point of the life of faith, in general. This is why I rather dislike the intense interest in Tebow and God and Answered Prayers: I think it is helping to put a very shallow spin on a practice of true depth.
She’s got more and as always, it’s worthy of your time.
I’m having fun tweaking the haters and they’re out there in great numbers.
But what this all means is anyone’s guess and whether God is actually in the midst of Tebow time is best left for deeper thinkers. It’s tough however not to mess with some people. On facebook, someone (admittedly not necessarily a Tebow hater) wrote “I guess it’s true what they say…God works in mysterious ways….helping Tim Tebow win a football game; but not helping all the starving African kids, or stopping wars, or curing disease…”
To which I replied, with tongue less than firmly planted in cheek, “Or growing hair on bald men… it’s all crazy… next thing you know, God might decide to become a man who likes to party (by turning water into wine), a man who likes to punk his followers (I walked on water Peter, c’mon you can do it) or someone crazy enough to say: Hey, believe in me and live forever… yea, it’s all crazy mysterious and completely out of character for God to be taking all this Tebowing crap seriously…”
My point, perhaps lost in the feebleness of my attempt to make it, is if God can do what Scripture has God doing time and again, is it really all that nutty to believe he’s got His hand in this?