We Can’t Afford the Penalties


As I was watching the Super Bowl game with the San Diego Chargers down by several touchdowns, there came a call by the officials. It was a penalty against the Chargers. As I sat comfortably in my own living room, shaking my head in disgust, I said out loud, “I just can’t believe it. Don’t they know they can’t afford costly penalties at this stage of the game?”

At that same moment… those words also registered on the inside of me. Isn’t it strange that the hyped up Super Bowl game means nothing at all when compared to life. When I lived in the world of sin there were a number of costly penalties that cost me the game. Alcohol eventually drew a yellow flag for alcoholism. The fifteen yard penalty in football I could live with, but the penalty for alcoholism for me was death… no escape.

I drew another flag because I thought smoking was cool. It made me look good around my friends. They had more respect for me. Actually, two flags fell at that time… one for stupidity… everyone knows that cigarettes kill people. The other flag was for addiction. The penalty was stiffer than I had imagined. Death for me… no way out.

I was hooked, big time. Penalty flags were everywhere.

I did not call on God until I had no place left to call. My penalties were so numerous that I looked like a yellow banner lined up at the one yard line at the wrong end of the field, deep in enemy territory. The last play was my call with only a few seconds of life on the clock… and it was ticking… all time outs were used up… and no way out.

I got on my knees in the devil’s end zone and said, “Jesus, if You are not real… I’m going to die… and I will have spent my life for nothing. God please save me.”

I looked up with tears streaming down my face. The coach had pulled the quarterback out of the game and benched him while I was on my knees. A new quarterback was running out on the field. I went back to the huddle to see what was happening. Jesus stepped into the huddle. He brushed all the yellow flags off of me. Alcoholism was gone. The three pack a day smoking addiction was terminated also. Then He said, “I’m calling a quarterback sneak,” and He smiled at me… almost laughing.

“Do You think it will work,” I said. “It’s ninety nine yards.”

“Just follow Me” was all He said… and I’ve been following Him ever since.

Psalm 34:19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all… NIV




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