God shows up in the unlikeliest of places.
And when He does, it never ceases to amaze me.
Our Heavenly Father even shows up at something as earthly as the Super Bowl. And boy, did He show up last Sunday!
Whenever God makes a surprise visit, I’m like, “You have got to be kidding me. That was awesome.” But to be honest, I’m not so sure as to why His unannounced visits are that much of a surprise. I mean, I’ve seen the same thing happen so many times over the years that by now you’d think I’d be expecting God to make an appearance.
And Jesus certainly set the predicate for such a visit when He said about His disciples, “If they keep quiet, these stones will start shouting” (Luke 19:40 NLT).
So if God can receive praise from rocks along a path, then surely He can receive praise from a football game. And boy, did He ever!
No, I’m not talking about the placekicker who crossed himself before sending the ball sailing through the uprights. Though I offer my kudos to him for practicing his faith even in the pressure-cooker of the Super Bowl.
No, I’m not talking about a quarterback who famously sports a Jesus tattoo and a variety of Bible verses on his body. Though I certainly applaud his faith as well.
I AM talking about a commercial. A Super Bowl commercial. A super, Super Bowl commercial. One in which God, and the values that God cherishes — the values that represent the very best of the people whom He created — were on prime-time display. Throughout the country, and around the world. We’re talking a big stage here, where it is estimated that one out of every two television sets were tuned in. One in which 110 million people looked in and got a grand view.
The commercial featured the words written by an anonymous author (no one knows for sure who originally wrote the piece), but words so stirringly read by the master storyteller, Paul Harvey — who on February 28 will have been dead four years, yet “he being dead still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4). Speaks loudly and clearly, I might add, to the glory of God on a worldwide stage.
The commercial began with the words, “And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer.”
I’ve got to tell you: Over the years, and through many a-Super Bowl, I have become an expert in tuning out commercials. Silly me. I parked myself in front of my LG 32 incher fully expecting to watch a football game. But the moment I heard those words I stopped talking in mid-sentence, froze with my snack-filled hand halfway to my mouth, and watched and listened.
This commercial paralyzed me.
But not only me. Within seconds of its conclusion, my Facebook page and Twitter account went wild with posts and tweets about the raw impact of this powerful moment frozen in time.
The commercial has since gone viral. And that for good reason:
While the good people at Dodge were using this paid advertisement to sell Ram trucks, they tapped into a subconscious strain of human DNA that so many of us admire, and that so many of us strive to manifest in our own lives.
Our belief in a kind and compassionate God who cares — deeply — about all of His many creatures, while paying particular attention to every facet of our hectic daily lives. As Paul Harvey read, “God said, ‘I need somebody… who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark.’ So God made a farmer.”
They appealed to our love for a loving God who understands and is intimately involved in the day-to-day challenges that we all face, and the pain we so often feel. “God said, ‘I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, “Maybe next year.”’ So God made a farmer.”
They understood that we are devoted to a God who appreciates, and approves, and delights in our most menial of tasks; for in truth, nothing is menial to God. “God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.’ So God made a farmer.”
Our worship of God who looks upon all that we do as acts of worship, especially when when we do our best, give it our all, and do our work with integrity. “God said, ‘It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners.’ So God made a farmer.”
And our yearning to belong, to feel connected to one another. “God said, ‘It had to be somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing.’ So God made a farmer.”
Of course, the images on the screen were equally as moving as the narration that accompanied them. A small country church. An elderly man with the wrinkles of a life well-lived etched upon his well-worn face as his eyes squinted into the shining sun. A woman with an enigmatic smile that lets us know that she has a story of her own, one worth telling, one we’d all love to sit at her feet and hear her tell. A boy and a girl who represent all of the human potential with which they were endowed by their Creator. A lone individual, kneeling in a pew silently, with cracked hands folded reverently, alone with His God, but not really alone because God meets him there. A family seated around the dining room table softly offering their thanks to the Almighty for faithfully providing them with yet another meal.
A dad and his young son, his pride for his boy written all over his expressive face. As God said, “It had to be someone… who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.’ So God made a farmer.”
As a commercial, it was a masterpiece. As a message, it was about farmers and about Dodge Ram trucks. But only on the surface. Dig down a bit deeper, and you will find that it was a message about us. Who we are. And the kind of people we long to become.
There was a football game last Sunday. One watched by millions. And wouldn’t you know? God showed up!
Boy, did He ever!
In case you missed the commercial, you can watch it HERE.