Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Does God Have Favorites?

I spent a fair amount of the past weekend working on a mid-term exam for my Pentateuch course. One of the major themes or lines of questioning was related to favoritism in Genesis. At the same time I was working on this exam, some 8,000 crazy nordic skiers were skiing 33 miles through the hills, valleys and forests of northwest Wisconsin. This annual event, America's largest ski marathon is known as the American Birkebeiner and it is really a tough ski race. The hills are numerous and large. The crowds are crazy. It's a huge event. While reading the results and race summaries something caught my attention. The women's race this year was very tight. Imagine skiing 32.9 miles and then having to sprint to the finish line! The result was a photo finish and the winner was determined to be Rebecca Dussault (she's in the black/yellow suit closest to the camera). She beat Holly Brooks by less than a second. Amazing. What stuck out however wasn't the fact that the race was exciting or that close, it was that as soon as she was able to catch her breath and talk with the announcer, Rebecca indicated that it was her faith that allowed her to win. Her deep convictions and strong faith in God and Jesus Christ made her win possible. Now, Rebecca and Holly both ski for the same ski company, both had their skis prepped by the same wax technicians, both are members of teams that feature top coaches, and both are incredible athletes. In short, all things were pretty much equal. So, does God like Rebecca more than Holly? Perhaps Holly doesn't pray enough? What if Rebecca had fallen in the last 10 meters? How would that be reconciled? If she'd been second would that have been God's fault?
I'm not asking these questions sarcastically either and by no means question Rebecca's sincerity. Rebecca is a woman of great faith and is an incredible role model. She's balanced raising a family, caring for a sick husband along with her Olympic dreams. But we see this attitude often in sports and in our greater culture. We see this in our nation's claim to be the greatest and by some that it was God's providence that we're even here to begin with. I think we see it because we don't often realize that when we makes these claims we automatically put the other person, team or country in a secondary position. I don't think that's Gods intentions.

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