Two Stories: One Lifts My Heart, the Other Breaks It

Mr. Inspiration comes to Sin City (not so much anymore) and we're glad to receive him. Also, Whitney in heaven.

Posted in , Mar 23, 2012

Guideposts Editor-in-Chief Edward Grinnan

Among the many big news stories that blew up last week, the Peyton Manning to Denver and Tim Tebow to the New York Jets trades had the biggest boom, at least in these parts. Before you go thinking, Why would Tim Tebow play in such a godless town?, there are churches almost everywhere you go in Manhattan. I can see three from my twenty-first floor window at Guideposts right now.

If the city ever gets to be too much for him, Tim is welcome to shelter in our Midtown offices anytime. In fact I would love to talk to Tebow. The time is right for a Guideposts cover story.

People have always wanted us to do Tim, going back to his college days in Florida. The problem was, Tim was more or less perfect. Nobody was better than Tebow and nobody had stronger faith. He was the Christian Golden Boy and that didn’t make for a very good Guideposts story. We like to see that people have to lean on their faith and use it when the going gets tough. But for Tim, everything seemed smooth as silk. I thought we might want to pursue Tim last year but I didn’t see a story there, either. Tim was doing quite well for a stretch of games and media access was restricted. I had to ask myself: Superstar Super Christian has it all? That isn’t a Guideposts story!

It reminded me of a story I did a long time ago and that I retell in my book The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours. Cardinals all-star second baseman Tommy Herr was a fixture in St. Lou. I would get letters from fans stating what a fine, outstanding young man he was. Humble. Good husband and father. Led the locker room Bible study and held prayer before the game. Perfect for Guideposts, right? Not really.

Then, totally out of the blue, Tommy got traded to the Twins for a big slugger named Brunansky. Tommy was devastated. He always thought he’d retire a Card. He could barely talk to the press he was so hurt and emotional. But that was the game.

Now Tommy was someone I wanted to talk to for Guideposts. The best stories are about how we find a deeper faith in times of adversity, how we use what God has hidden deep inside of us for just these moments in life. So I sat down with Tommy and we had a great Guideposts story, one of my all-time favorites.

Tim Tebow faces a similar situation. For almost all his football life he has been the best player on the field. Then he hit the pros, the best of the best, where almost everyone else was the best player on the field at one time or another in their lives. Suddenly Tim Tebow struggled. Tim Tebow never struggled before! He was superior. Now people had doubts about him, serious doubts. The pro game is so much harder, faster and more complex.

And yet last year he led Denver to seven amazing, you might even say miraculous, victories in the second half of the season to get the Broncos into the playoffs, where they beat heavily favored Pittsburgh in the first round and then were easily dispatched by Tom Brady and the Patriots. Tebow did not have a good game and all the doubts about him came surging back.

Now Tebow’s been traded to the Jets, replaced by future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning trying to come back from a serious neck injury that kept him out all last season. Tebow will have to play under the most intense and contentious media scrutiny in the country. But he’ll also experience playing in the greatest city on Earth in front of some of the most passionate fans.

Tim, I’m talking to you: I think the readers of Guideposts would love to hear about how you are using faith and Scripture to overcome some of the challenges pro football has thrown your way. When others doubt you, do you doubt yourself? Is football what God wants you to be doing? Did being traded from Denver make you angry? We should talk. So give me a shout and we’ll set up a time.

And will you readers tell me how your faith kicks in when life’s challenges get especially tough? Post below.

By the way, last week the cause of death in the Whitney Houston case was announced: She drowned in the bathtub after cardiac arrest brought on by cocaine use. She also had marijuana and Xanax in her system, which didn’t help but wasn’t a direct cause of death. I think this pretty much proved what everyone expected. But sad, so so sad.

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