With football season now officially in full swing and the season opener last night for my beloved Green Bay Packers, resulting in a very sad loss I might add…

it forced me to reflect upon my loyalty.

What kind of fan am I?

In the mid-90’s Jax and I lived in the Twin Cities; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.  Two Packer fans relocated to the heart of Viking territory, you’d think we would have felt the pinch of a Viking fan’s bite.  However in the 90’s the Vikings had many mediocre seasons; repetitive 8-8 and 9-7 records with the winning-est season in ’92 in which they pulled off eleven wins and five losses, so we found there weren’t many tried and true fans left.

In fact, the Viking games had so often been “blacked out,” meaning the games weren’t televised locally, so we were able to watch our more successful Green Bay Packers with a surprising amount of ease and unexpectedly found Minnesotans jumping on the Packer-backer bandwagon cheering for the Pack right along with us!

In 1997 Jax and I were able to go to a Monday night Vikings vs. Packers game that of course wasn’t televised, at the Metrodome.  Going into it we sort of assumed, sadly, that the Packers would have a hard time wining only because of the history Brett Favre had playing in the Metrodome but we wanted to go to a game and in Minnesota it was pretty easy to get tickets.   However, it was at this game where we truly found Viking fans; the ones who bled purple and gold.

The roar of the crowd was deafening as we sat like green and gold prey in a sea of purple sharks.  Their insults and jabs encircled us while they took bite after bite before and during the game.  They were full of themselves and sure of their team, but somehow Favre managed to defeat his ghosts and pulled off a 27-11 win.  The crowd became suddenly quiet, there were no more attacks.  The encircling pack retreated.

The Vikings ended that season with a 9-7 record while the Packers went on for a second consecutive appearance at the Super Bowl.  The Pack couldn’t find the win this time around and we sat heartbroken alongside Viking-turned-Packer-fans.

The 1998 Minnesota Vikings season was the turn around.  The Vikings were on fire; they had the best offense in the league, they broke scoring records and ended the season as one of three teams ever winning 15 games in the regular season.  The Viking fans were coming full force out of the wood work.  Those fans who had previously lent their voices to our green and gold song were nowhere to be found.

The Vikings cruised their way to the NFC Central title, easily winning their first playoff game and although finding themselves in a bind and in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons, all that stood between the Vikings and a visit to the Super Bowl was the place kicker Gary Anderson, who had a 100% field goal percentage.

The game was clinched…

until he missed the field goal, sending the Falcons to the big game.

It had been an awesome year for the Minnesota Vikings.  They had a killer run, and although we were quite pleased with the outcome of that playoff game, the Vikes had a wonderful season and seemingly promising future.

But the response after that game from the Viking fans was shocking.  Instead of celebrating the amazing season they just had, they were angry.  They complained about the team and the coaching and wanted head coach Dennis Green fired.  It was such a stark contrast to the previous few months where the Minnesota Vikings team and coaching staff could do no wrong.

But isn’t that exactly how we act as Christians?

When things are going our way, when life is going great and we can feel the sunshine on our faces, we sing a little song and carry on just fine.  But when things get tough or don’t go our way we suddenly go to God complaining and questioning.

What are you doing?  We ask.

Where have you been?  We cry.

What are you thinking?!  We shout.

We wail and moan, throwing down our #1 fan foam fingers and cross our arms in a childish pout.

God is always working, always with us, always constant.  We are the ones who change.  We are the ones who turn away.  We are the ones who rely on ourselves and not the Truth.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”   Isaiah 40:28-31

Perhaps it’s that #1 fan foam finger that holds the key after all.  Where are we to look when we’re struggling?  Where are we to look when we feel alone?  Where are we to look when we can’t see our way?

Up.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”   Proverbs 3:5-6

Advertisements