Every day is a chance for God to fill us with mercy, give us wisdom and encourage parents to mutilate their newborn son’s penis (Exodus 12:43–49). But before He can decide the fate of mankind, He must deal with a far more important task: picking the winner of sports games.
When God started deciding competitive outcomes, the stakes were low. If two nomadic fellows tried to impress a maiden by gathering fruits and berries, He’d make sure the more agnostic man entered a blood-thirsty bear’s beloved blueberry bush.
Before, God could wake up, decide the winners, and then get on to more important tasks like slaughtering every Egyptian firstborn (Numbers 16:41–50). Now, the stakes have been raised, and even middling collegiate players like Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson play for millions of adoring fans.
Though God still picks every game, His reasons for granting victory have become less predictable. When Steph Curry thanked his biological dad instead of the True Holy Father the Lord after Game 4 of the NBA Finals, God violently turned off the AC in his hotel room. Chilled by divine wrath, Curry lost his ability to shoot and defend, leading to three straight Cavaliers victories.
The week of the New York Mets’ Wild Card game against the San Francisco Giants, my family exalted God every night, making sure to loudly mention how appreciative we’d be for a victory. I even arranged and performed an a capella version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” that brought the mildly disoriented seniors of the Shady Grove Nursing & Rehabilitation Center to the edge of their wheelchairs. And what did God do? Nothing. San Francisco beat the Mets 3-0, and I cried for two hours.
Sometimes, He picks the team that believes in Him the most. Sometimes He just picks the team with the better name. The New Jersey Devils have not won a game in almost a decade. The Clarke University Crusaders out of Dubuque, Iowa, meanwhile, haven’t lost a Division III match since Khwarezmian mercenaries captured Jerusalem in 1244.
Everyone likes a bit of public support and validation — God included. He’s anxious to know that you still believe in Him when you’re down by 25 points in the second half, or after you’ve spent all day praying for a win only to be crushed by an epic defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants.
His preferences for certain teams and players are hardly secrets. “It’s what God wanted; He picked us for a reason,” said weak-armed, poor-decision-making, not NFL-ready quarterback Deshaun Watson after an upset win over powerhouse Alabama. Watson, who would be sitting on his couch eating nachos without some sort of divine intervention, has tapped into the power of our awesome God.
With so much time spent on sports, God has little time to attend to arguably more pressing issues: who lives, who dies, who is elected for public office, when fruit ripens and how high Shake Shack prices can go before people realize that it is just not worth it anymore. Under a self-imposed time crunch, God messes up. He ripens bananas too fast or not fast enough; He lets mankind deplete the ozone; He picks the Giants over the Mets even though a nice, Jewish boy went to Sunday School every week, memorized a Torah portion, performed for the elderly and prayed every night in the hopes that his beloved Metropolitans could win the World Series for the first time in more than 30 years.
In the end, God has a reason for everything. There’s a reason He sprained little Jimmy’s ankle before his middle school soccer tournament or that He let Deshaun Watson win the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award for outstanding fourth year quarterbacks despite lacking the mechanics necessary for an adequate franchise starter.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away (Job 1:21). I would never question any of His decisions, especially those involving something as silly as sports. God has plenty of more important things to worry about than fulfilling the dreams of a guy who’s just trying to spread His name through acts of selfless devotion and charity.
But if He does want to reward a faithful servant, a Mets championship would be nice.