Obedience and a Missed Field Goal

Originally published in January 1995

To start off, I know the Minnesota Vikings season is over with.And I know it ended in a bad way for the Vikes—which I am still trying to get over with.In fact, my first comment after that disappointing loss was “I can’t wait for July and for preseason football.”I love football and I love my Vikes—fanatically.

With that in mind, I still have to share this terrific story with you reported in the Viking Update, a weekly newspaper for Vikings fans.

“…Monday after the Vikes’ gut-wrenching loss to Tampa Bay (please don’t remind me), wide receiver Cris Carter—a strongly religious man—encounters an enlightenment with God, in which he is told all will be well.

“Carter, moved by this experience, then goes to coach Dennis Green, who, while perhaps a bit surprised, was happy for any help he got in breaking the Vikings losing streak…

“Carter shared his experience with his teammates, who tried to channel the catharsis for the good of the team.Practices went smoother and C.C. joined in with a pair of teammates to make a request from the 12th Man to man quarterback Warren Moon’s aching throwing hand better.

“’Cris, Charles Evans and myself sat in a circle and prayed,’ Moon said.‘They both laid their hands on my right hand and asked that everything be all right.’

“Anyone who saw the game could attest to the relative health of the lunar launcher against the Bears, but C.C.’s leap of faith, like it is for most true believers, had to be tested.And Carter’s prophecy that all would be well would face the stiffest test possible…

“But, like Job, the Vikes weren’t going to get the win easily.Kicker Kevin Butler sent the game to overtime with a retaliation field goal and, after the Bears won the coin toss for overtime, all seemed lost.

“The Bears plunged through the Viking defense and pounded the ball deeper and deeper into Viking territory and closer and closer to a Butler chip shot for the win…It was a chop shot that would take all the Vikings tie-breakers away and leave the team with a four-game losing streak…Butler has lasted in the NFL because he can accurately kick field goals in December in a city known for its wind.

“There was no wind in the Metrodome—unless you’re one of those vent conspiracy theorists—and Butler makes that field goal in 99 out of 100 tries.But it would seem he was up against a higher power…

“The snap was perfect.The hold was perfect.The approach was perfect.The kick had plenty of distance.But it was drifting.And it kept drifting…The kick sailed right by no more than two feet…

“’I never doubted that it would miss,’ Carter said.“God had told me that all would be well and the kick was missed.I knew we would get another chance.’

“The chance took all of two plays, as Moon hooked up with C.C. on a shoot route up the sideline that left C.C. guarded by a linebacker…

“Call it what you want—a miracle, luck or something in between.But something special happened at the Metrodome December 1 and C.C. is convinced he knows who the source that caused it.And He won’t show up in the box score.”

Yes, Dennis Green and the Vikings, there is a God.God didn’t use a fumble, an interception, or a great run back.In overtime, in what looked to be an obvious loss, a chip-shot field goal went bad.And credit for such an amazing occurrence can go to God because Cris Carter was bold enough to tell Dennis Green that everything would be all right.Who knows if someone on that Viking team had just prayed that desperate prayer to God, “If you are truly God, show me.”Who knows if someone who read the Viking Update had just prayed that prayer.Like a miracle healing or a beautiful sunrise, a missed field goal could be that spiritual marker in someone’s life.

All because Cris Carter was obedient.

One of my teens is searching for God.Through the mess that was left behind after the fall of our pastor, he is disillusioned.The last time I heard from him I received a letter with this:“…Here is what I say—let God prove Himself to me in a manner that will leave me no doubt as to His existence.To God this would be such a little nothing—to me it would be everything.”

I pray for this for Randy.But disillusionment is blurring his vision in seeing a missed field goal or a sunrise.He is not looking.What am I to do?

I am to be obedient like Cris Carter.

You never know what “circumstances” in life will be spiritual markers in someone’s faith walk—whether in Randy’s or anyone else’s that crosses my path.For me my father and grandmother stopping their snoring (a miracle right there) was what it took for me to discover again that God was real and cared for me.Be obedient in whatever God has for you to do.

If Cris Carter was never obedient in telling Dennis Green and the Vikings what he knew, the missed field goal would only be a missed field goal would only be a missed field goal not God’s intervention.Be obedient in whatever God has for you to do because you never know.