Plot Twist

Even if you don’t follow pro football closely, it would have been difficult to miss coverage of the off-season drama Aaron Rodgers generated earlier this year. The future Hall of Famer made it clear that he wanted to leave the Green Bay Packers for the New York Jets. That set off weeks of “will they or won’t they,” as the Jets and Packers negotiated a trade deal.

Once Rodgers was a Jet, the narrative changed. The questions now were, will Rodgers take the Jets to the Super Bowl and how good (or not) will the Packers be with Jordan Love at quarterback? The Love question is still an open one, despite a strong Week 1 showing. The Rodgers question was definitively answered in a way nobody would have possibly imagined. Four offensive plays into the new season, Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles tendon, a season-ending and, perhaps, career-ending injury.

Jets fans were left in a state of disbelief. All the hype, all the waiting for a true legend to lead their team, has evaporated and the Jets need to turn again to Zach Wilson, whose disappointing performance in his first two years led to the team acquiring Rodgers. For Christ-followers, this story perfectly demonstrates the case against having specific expectations of what God will do and instead having an expectancy that He will do something that we can’t possibly imagine. Take the story of Jesus calming the storm found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke:

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:35-41 (NIV)

Look at the words three gospel writers use to describe the storm:

Matthew, “storm”: Seismos – earthquake; storm

Mark and Luke, “squall”: Lailaps – storm, hurricane, whirlwind

Matthew compares the storm to an earthquake. Mark and Luke describe it with a word that can mean hurricane. Uhm…Jesus slept through that??? Yes, He did. First, Jesus knew before the beginning of time the storm was going to come and that He was going to orchestrate events so His followers would be caught in it. Second, we can only sleep soundly when we’re not worried about anything. Jesus wasn’t worried.

The problem for the disciples was not that they didn’t believe Jesus could calm the storm. The problem was they didn’t have faith that He would calm the storm. Part of that lack of faith came from them not understanding why He put them in the boat in the first place. Their focus was on the storm and not on Jesus. Let’s be honest, we do the same thing all the time. So, what can we learn from the storm Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets now face?

Believers should ask: “What might God want to do with this storm?” Zach Wilson was the second player taken in the 2021 NFL draft. A player chosen that high is expected to perform well, quickly. Wilson hasn’t. That’s why Rodgers was brought in. What if God’s plan in all this is all about Zach Wilson? What if he orchestrated Rodgers’ presence in New York to provide a tutor/mentor/coach/friend in the form of an all-time great quarterback?

What if Rodgers is in New York to assist Wilson in growing into the quarterback role by benefiting from his experience and teaching? Maybe Rodgers is still the answer the Jets and their fans were looking for. They just wouldn’t have possibly imagined what the question was. I can’t say that’s God’s plan. I can only say it’s possible. That’s the whole point: expectancy that God will do something, rather than expectation that He will do something specific. Nobody does plot twists better than God, because He not only sees them coming, He creates them!

When we’re focusing on the storms in our lives and not on Jesus, what lessons is He trying to teach us that we’re missing?

Pastor Jerry Bader

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