Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Ravages of Time

Most Super Bowls in my experience have been sleepers, one team dominating the other. But Super Bowl XLIX was a pleasant exception. It stayed thrilling right down to the last 20 seconds of the game. Just when it looked like one team was going to put the game away, the other came roaring back. The final interception was so unpredictable, so unexpected, especially when it seemed Seattle was destined to win it all.

I didn't have a dog in this race. I admired both teams, but didn't really care who won. So I focused instead on the two quarterbacks -- and the passing of the torch from one generation to the next. Who was going to do better: Tom Brady, the 37-year-old veteran and future Hall of Famer, or the brilliant, young Russell Wilson?

It was fun comparing the two. Wilson has the physical edge with his youth, agility and speed. Just when a defender broke loose from the offensive line and came charging in for a certain tackle, Wilson calmly slipped to the side and in a flash was making his way down a wide, open field.

At his age, Brady doesn't have that elusive speed; maybe he never did. No, Brady wasn't going to be able to use his feet to escape the onrushing defensemen. But what the wily, old veteran lacked in physical speed he more than made up in savvy, brains and experience. His performance against the "Legion of Boom" in the fourth quarter was simply brilliant.

But he's 37, and time keeps marching on. How many more productive years are left in his NFL career, or those of his generation of quarterbacks? I read Monday that Drew Brees at 36 is showing signs of decline, and I fear we've seen the last great run for Peyton Manning. How many more excellent years can we expect from Tom Brady, before the sun finally sets on his career?

These two Super Bowl quarterbacks demonstrate our journey through this life. In our youth we're like Russell Wilson: boundless opportunities, full of dreams, hopes and aspirations. As we pass through our 20s, 30s, and 40s, we see our physical ability begin its gradual decline. But at least we can find some consolation in our increase in wisdom and experience. Eventually, however, even that experience and mental power will fade away, if God grants us enough years. The physical and mental decline we all experience is the stark, terrible price sin exacts from each of us.

That's where God's promise offers such hope and comfort. Jesus Christ took that sin upon Himself and died on the cross to remove sin's curse from us. His resurrection guarantees our own resurrection -- and an endless life where He will permanently and eternally restore our youthful vim and vigor, and make our minds sharp, young and new forever.
That's why the movie Field of Dreams has a special place in my heart. It reminds me that when Jesus returns, resurrects my body, and restores it perfectly, I'll be able to run, hop and play for all eternity, without time's ravaging effects.

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