The Pen

Jalen Hurts and God’s Providence

After engineering an historic comeback against the University of Georgia in the 2018 SEC Championship Game, Alabama Crimson Tide backup quarterback Jalen Hurts had few words.  His fate, he simply said, had been in God’s hands.

Just eleven months ago, Hurts was the starting quarterback of the nation’s most heralded college football team.  As a sophomore, he had led his team to the National Championship Game for the 2nd year in a row.  After a lackluster 1st-half performance against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 Title Game*, he was replaced by his true freshman backup Tua Tagovailoa.  Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide back from the brink of defeat in what will go down as one of the most legendary performances in collegiate sports history.

Tua Tagovailoa

To begin the 2018 season, Jalen Hurts, who had gone 26-2 as a starter, found himself riding the bench and looking on as Tagovailoa, the front-runner for the Heisman trophy, threw touchdown after touchdown in victory after victory.  Many argued that Hurts should leave the University of Alabama immediately and transfer to another program.  Others opined that he should redshirt and preserve two years of eligibility to play elsewhere.  Hurts did neither.  He chose to stay at Alabama as a backup. Hurts, who will graduate in December, burned his Junior year of eligibility in 2nd-half mop-up duty for Alabama, which defeated each of its regular season opponets by at least three touchdowns.

This past Saturday, with Tagovailoa at the helm, Alabama was a double-digit favorite to defeat the Georiga Bulldogs for the SEC Championship.  Despite the predictions of odds-makers, Tagovailoa played poorly, throwing two interceptions and failing to convert a single 3rd down.  His worst game of the season ended in leg injury.  Tagovailoa, the most sensational quaterback to play for the Crimson Tide since Joe Willie Namath, limped off the field and was replaced by Jalen Hurts.

In what seemed like a Hollywood storyline dripping with irony and drama, against the same team in the same building, Jalen Hurts replaced the very player who had replaced him and, like his replacement, led his team to victory.  Like everything else, these fantastic events happened within the bounds of God’s providence.  Whether extraordinary or mundane, nothing happens outside of the will of God.  Christians would be wise to reflect on the relevance of Hurts’ postgame comments.  It’s not that God particularly favors one football team or player over another (as much as it may seem that way where Alabama is concerned).  It’s that, no matter what happens, God is in control of the final outcome.  Humans bear the responsibility to act with class, character,  and humility as Jalen Hurts did during the 2018 season but God oversees ultimate outcomes.  The ultimate human responsibility is that responsibility for sin.  It is this responsibility that the God-man, Jesus Christ, bore on the cross for all who would repent of their sins and believe in Him.  Christians can look forward, knowing that their Lord is in ultimate control, to the peace of God in the world to come no matter what fate befalls them here on Earth.

On that note, get well Tua Tagovailoa and Roll Tide.

*The 2018 Title Game is the championship of the 2017 season.

***Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.


Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant