When things just don’t add up

Chuck Tabor - Contributing columnist

In the fall of 1996, OSU played OU in football. These two teams were great rivals, and they were vying for the bragging rights in the state… of Oklahoma!

The Oklahoma State University Cowboys and the Oklahoma University Sooners were playing in the last game of their season. Oklahoma State was trailing Oklahoma by six points when the Oklahoma State coach called a time-out with just seconds left to play in the game.

He called the quarterback Randy Johnson over to the sidelines and told him he was putting in all the seniors for the last play of their college career. He then told Johnson to call whatever play he wanted to call for that play. Johnson took his team into the huddle and called for play 13 – a trick play they had never run in a game before, had only practiced once or twice in practice, and even then had not been able to run it successfully.

The team broke from the huddle and ran play 13 – to perfection! They were able to score a touchdown on the last play of the game. Kicking the extra point gave the OSU Cowboys the victory!

After the game, the coach asked his quarterback, who happened to be a descendant of former president Lyndon Johnson, how he decided to choose THAT play for the final play of the game.

Johnson said, “Well coach, as I was in the huddle with all these seniors and realized they were playing the last play in their last game, I looked around at each one of them and the first one I saw was Harry, wearing number 8, and then I turned and saw Ralph there wearing number 7. So I added up their numbers and came up with the number of the play to call – 13!”

The coach looked at Johnson and said, “Randy, those numbers don’t add up to 13!”

Johnson thought for a moment, then agreed, “Gee, you’re right, coach…. And if I’d been as smart as you we would have lost the game!”

Sometimes the correct answers are not always the right answers! And if we were able to take the time to get the correct answer, we might lose the game!

What’s true in football – at least in THAT football game — is also true in life, and that is what is called the life of faith.

Sometimes what is logical and reasonable is just simply NOT what God has called us to do, and what IS logical and reasonable is exactly what God has called us NOT to do.

The life of faith is living according to what God has called us to do and NOT what is logical and reasonable. That’s why we can use such terms as “assurance,” “hope,” and “confidence” when we talk about the life of faith (Hebrews 11:1). And that is also why we can look for guidance and direction in this faith-life to people like Noah (Hebrews 11:7).

Think about it for a moment – nothing this guy did made sense! He was living in a day and an age when nobody had ever seen anything like “rain” and the term “flood” was not even listed in the dictionaries of that day.

And yet, his neighbors and friends, out for an evening stroll down the lane, would find him in the same place every day – out in his backyard building a “boat”! As looney as a three-dollar shekel! I mean, why would you need a boat when there is not any water for miles!

And one THAT big? Besides that, there is also the question of, “When you get it finished, how are you going to get it to the water?”

And you know, “I don’t know” just does not cut it for an acceptable answer to that question!

With Noah, the numbers just simply did not add up. And yet, he was doing what God had told him to do.

And my friends, that is what the life of faith is all about – doing what God tells you to do in spite of the mathematics or logic or reasonability of the situation.

Does such a strategy work? It did for Noah!

In Genesis 6:13, we read, “God said to Noah” followed by the command to build the ark along with the blueprints for the ark. In Genesis 8:1, while Noah and his family were still in the ark, and perhaps getting fidgety that God may have forgotten them, we read these words, “But God remembered Noah.” These words are followed by the receding of the floodwaters, and the deliverance from the ark.

Upon his deliverance, Noah and his family built an altar to the Lord and worshipped Him there. And then we read (in Genesis 9:1), “Then God blessed Noah…” followed by the promise that never again would the Lord destroy the earth by a flood.

God wants to bless us… no question about that. But that will only happen as we listen to the voice of God and not the world, and then follow the commands of God and not the world! God WILL accomplish His will on earth as it is in heaven!

He really will.

Won’t you trust Him today? Won’t you believe Him today? Won’t you obey Him today?

God bless …

Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at [email protected]


Chuck Tabor

Contributing columnist