Week for comes to an end tonight, and while many predicted that the Minnesota Vikings would be very competitive this season and in the mix for a solid playoff run, some of those thoughts started to waiver when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with a season ending injury. But the Vikings made a quick deal to get quarterback Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles. Bradford was set for his second season with the Philadelphia Eagles but the Eagles drafted Carson Wentz this off-season and Bradford, all of a sudden, was being pointed to the bench. Bradford has struggled stay on the field since he was drafted first overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2010 draft. He had come to the NFL with an impressive resume. He was the Heisman as a sophomore in 2008 as well as a slew of other impressive awards. He continued to have success as a rookie, winning the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year award. But then, injuries cut 2 of the next 3 seasons short and eventually led to the Rams moving on without him.
As you can read in this article from CBN.com, it was not the first time that Bradford struggled to find his place. As a freshman at Oklahoma, Bradford was on the bench. This was very unfamiliar to him because as he says “Every sport I’d ever played in, I’d always played. I never sat the bench. And, I kind of turned my back on the Lord. I was like, ‘Why are you doing this to me? Why are you putting me in this situation?” But even though he was struggling with his place, he continued to go to FCA, following the faith that had begun in him as a middle schooler. A leader in the OU FCA group challenged him in his relationship with God. He shares a lesson he learned from that experience. He says “When I second-guessed Him, I thought He was going in the totally wrong direction. I mean, He knew exactly what He was doing; He had a plan for me. He’s had a plan my whole life. For me to not trust him, it was just ridiculous. So I think to be patient and persevere through hard times when you’re really not sure what God’s doing – that’s something that I’ve learned. You’ve got to learn to trust Him and know that He knows what He’s doing.” Bradford did get his chance and made the most of it as he starred for the Sooners and won the Heisman Trophy in 2008. You can hear him discuss his faith in God and the role it plays in his life in these videos from I AM Second
and from Sharing the Victory
Now he is getting a chance to join the Vikings and so far, the reviews have been very positive. There is hope and excitement here in the Twin Cities and despite further injury issues (running back and Offensive Line). Tonight, as the Vikings take on the Giants, we will see if Bradford can lead the Vikings to a 4-0 start.
Here are my takeaways from Bradford’s story.
1- God is with me – Bradford has gone through injury, free agency and trade (2 times). There has been a lot to go through but Bradford says that God’s presence is enough to carry him through the challenges. You can read more about his mindset and the gratitude he feels for the opportunities that he has received in this article from the Christian Post. He know that God is with Him sees spending time with God as very important. He says “To have a relationship with the Lord, and to be able to spend time with Him every week, it’s something that really just lets me get away from everything else. When I’m with Him … I stop thinking about football. I stop thinking about any other problems that are going on in my life.
2- Expect to win – The expectation when a team drafts a quarterback #1 overall is that the team will start winning with the new QB in place and that success will stick around for a while. Bradford has had success – Rookie of the Year is a pretty legit award, but with injuries to Bradford and other key players with the Rams meant that the wins didn’t come. And so time ran out with the Rams. He didn’t meet expectations, even though the issues were not all of his doing. But Bradford is playing football and living life for God who has already secured the most important victory for us – Victory over Satan, death and sin. Knowing that God has already secured the victory for all who choose to follow Him. That is a truly amazing truth that we can trust and take comfort in.
3- Middle School Ministry – Bradford says in this article from Sharing the Victory that he started attending a middle school ministry at a friends church. This connects with me because I am a firm believer that while it is possible to come to faith in God at any age, many people are making up their minds about what is going to be important in their life while they are in middle school. I love working with kids in the 10-15 range and sharing the truth about the bible. Do you have any middle schoolers in your life? Be honest and open about your faith in God and let Him speak through you to draw their hearts.