As I shift the focus of Living Up to My Name to football for the next few months, I have decided that trying to get all the teams represented is a challenge in itself. So instead of trying to get that done, I am going to attempt 2 blog posts a week. One from a current team from the weekend and a throwback Thursday from one of the teams playing on Thursday. I am a day late with my first one, but I think it is a great story to start with. (And not just because I am a huge Saints fan). So here we go.
The Saints have been terrible for most of my life and they have been stumbling away from powerhouse team towards struggling, rebuilding team. And while last night was a great win for the team and a solid game for 3 Saints that I have blogged about on this site,(Mark Ingram, Benjamin Watson and Drew Brees) I’m not buying my Super Bowl Ticket yet. I will instead revel at the amazing Super Bowl victory that the Saints enjoyed in February of 2010 when a particularly gutsy play call turned the direction of the game and put them on the path to victory. In case you don’t remember the play, here it is although the quality is poor.
As a fan of the Saints, I know that I can hold my breath for 63 seconds because that is how long it took to peel off the pile and reveal who had the ball. Reis’ recovery of the ball started the Saint’s momentum swing leading them to victory.
Reis would play only 2 more games in his NFL career but he is an icon and hero in Super Bowl Lore for his role in what is largely considered the gutsiest call in Super Bowl history.
And God’s sense of humor is not lost on me. How else can you explain how a NFL player who is not one of the biggest stars on his team now has a spotlight and a platform to speak about – of all possible topics – recovery. He recovered the on-side kick and now he and his father have co-authored a book about recovery. For his dad, it is recovery from addiction and surrender of life to Christ. I have ordered the book and will write a review of it once I get it read. But for now, check out Reis’ website and see what he is up to now. Also check out this interview with Chris and Mike Reis, talking about the book with CBN.
Here are my takeaways from the Reis’ story.
1- Recovery and Surrender – We are all prone to make bad decisions and hold on to control of our lives. God calls us to surrender and it is in our best interest to do just that. But it is also remarkably hard to do because we feel a need to stay in control. The irony is that when we try to keep control, it becomes more and more obvious that we are not in control at all. We put our attention in the wrong place and as a result, we either find ourselves swirling out of control or we are exhausted from the battle of trying to cover up the issues we are trying to beat. As Mike says “I felt incredible shame and low self-respect. Once again, I had blown it. My son had just made the most famous recovery in Super Bowl history. Now I needed my own recovery—a recovery from my addiction to alcohol, sex and a life filled with bad choices and poor decisions.” Jesus called us to surrender, to take up our cross and follow Him with all that we have. He is with us and He will help us. Let us surrender everything to Him, and allow Him to recover us – and bring us back to Him.
2- Ambush and the Bottom of the Pile – The play that was called to start the second half of Super Bowl 44 was called “Ambush”. Reis found himself at the bottom of the pile, holding on to the ball for dear life. The ball that he recovered now sits in a display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio. That is a great picture of how life is sometimes. We can find ourselves on the bottom of the pile with the heaviness of the world weighing on us, holding on for dear life to whatever we can. Much of what we grasp at will leave us empty handed, but if our faith and our hope is in God, we will not wind up empty handed. We will be invited to join the Creator of the World in a place that is way more amazing than the Hall of Fame. And I promise you that He will stay faithful and true so even when you are at the bottom of the pile and the cheap shots are coming, keep holding on! He won’t let you down.