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Surprising Super Bowl trivia is in the news today. Lining up the facts, you can make a compelling case that the New England Patriots will defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday’s game. For instance:
The Falcons have never won a Super Bowl. Their quarterback, Matt Ryan, has never won a Most Valuable Player award. Over his career, Ryan has defeated every NFL team except two—the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Patriots.
By contrast, the New England Patriots can secure their fifth title. Tom Brady could win his fifth championship, the most of any quarterback in history. He could also win a record fourth Super Bowl MVP.
Brady has started four games against the Falcons. He won all four. With six Super Bowls, he has more championship experience than the entire Falcons’ roster.
The game pits the league’s leading offense (the Falcons) against the league’s leading defense (the Patriots). This has happened only five times before in Super Bowl history. The team with the league’s best defense won four of the five.
Sunday’s game will be the first time Dan Quinn, Atlanta’s head coach, has competed against New England’s head coach, Bill Belichick. Since 2010, coaches in their first career game against Belichick are 3–22. And the last time the Super Bowl was played in Houston, the Patriots won.
Of course, none of this proves that New England will win Sunday’s game. Predictions, whether they are based on facts or speculation, are just that. Our culture is fascinated by them because they give us the illusion of control in a chaotic world.
This morning, a French soldier shot a man near the Louvre Museum after the assailant lunged at soldiers with a large knife shouting “God is great” in Arabic. Meanwhile, the US is warning North Korea of an “overwhelming response” if the rogue nation employs nuclear weapons.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 33:12)
In a time when terrorism and nuclear confrontations make the news daily, I believe God wants to redeem the uncertainty of our culture by showing us our need for certainty in him. When we plan a God-less future, here’s what happens: “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples” (Psalm 33:10). However, “the counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations” (v. 11). Thus, when we surrender our lives, fears, and future to him, we discover this joyous fact: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (v. 12).
St. Columbkille (AD 521-597) wrote more than three hundred books, established monasteries throughout Scotland, and is known as the patron saint of poets. I found recently a poem of his that expresses the commitment we are considering today. It is a bit long, but every word is meaningful:
Alone with none but thee, my God,
I journey on my way.
What need I fear when thou art near,
O King of night and day?
More safe am I within thy hand than if a
host should round me stand.
My destined time is known to thee,
And death will keep his hour;
did warriors strong around me throng,
they could not stay his power;
no walls of stone can man defend when
thou thy messenger dost send.
My life I yield to thy decree,
and bow to thy control
in peaceful calm, for from thine arm
no power can wrest my soul.
Could earthly omens e’er appall
a man that heeds the heavenly call!
The child of God can fear no ill,
his chosen dread no foe;
we leave our fate with thee, and wait
thy bidding when to go.
‘Tis not from chance our comfort springs,
thou art our trust, O King of kings.