Tom Brady won six Super Bowls for the New England Patriots and has now become the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, as excited as Tampa Bay fans might be, Brady’s iconic status didn’t earn him special treatment in one of their parks.
Tampa’s mayor, Jane Castor, broke the story during a news briefing yesterday. It seems Brady was working out in a downtown park that had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. A member of the parks staff spotted him and cited him.
SARS-CoV-2 pays no attention to Super Bowl victories or mayoral status. It is afflicting celebrities like Tom Hanks and hospital workers who care for them. Its ubiquitous danger reminds us of our shared humanity and shared need for help beyond ourselves.
God often works through people the world ignores
In a culture dominated by sports figures and celebrities, we are learning that all humans are mortal. Even when treatments and a vaccine for coronavirus are developed, other deadly diseases will be just as deadly. Tornadoes and other natural disasters will still plague our broken world.
But when we look to our Maker, we find in him the help and hope we can find nowhere else.
The psalmist declared: “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!” (Psalm 112:1). He adds: “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous” (v. 4). Such a person “is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid” (vv. 7–8).
When we fear the Lord, we need not fear anyone else.
In fact, God often works in our world not through celebrities but through people the world ignores. For example, when the apostle Paul was under arrest in Jerusalem, a group of forty men joined in a conspiracy to kill him. However, “the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul” (Acts 23:16). As a result, Paul was transported down to Caesarea and from there eventually to Rome.
God’s call on Paul’s life to preach to Caesar (Acts 9:15; 27:24) was fulfilled in part through the apostle’s unnamed nephew.
Oswald Chambers encouraged us to “get to the implicit relationship that takes everything as it comes from [God].” Since we are in Jesus’ hand (John 10:28), nothing can come to us unless it first comes through him. Thus, we can know that everything we experience is by his permission or his initiative and that he will redeem it for his glory and our good.
Br. Curtis Almquist of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Boston writes: “We are rescued and provided for by the shepherd. We need that help almost continually. But there is more. The shepherd loves us.
“Sooner or later we will be convinced.”