One of our local home town football team won the Cup this weekend and it seems as though nearly everyone I knew was at the game because, as I sat watching it at home on television I kept seeing people I recognised in the crowd, including my Mum, Brother and Nephew.
Even on the TV the game was actually pretty good for an Irish League Cup match with its fair share of exciting incidents, one of which I already expected my Mum to mention which was what initially looked like a penalty call that wasn’t given by the referee. I say initially because the subsequent replays of the incident clearly showed that there was no foul committed. But sure enough, the call came from my Mum to tell me all about the game and how “We should have had a penalty” and how bad the referee was and that everyone was shouting abuse at him for the rest of the match.
I then tried to tell my Mum that it wasn't a penalty.
She said it was.
I said it wasn’t.
She said it definitely was and everyone in the stand agreed.
I said it wasn’t.
She told me it most certainly was and that because they were there and I wasn’t, they had a better view of it and I didn’t.
I said it wasn’t…again…and tried to point out that the replays had the best view of it.
She didn’t buy it.
Later that night I got a message from her to tell me that my brother had went home and, because he had recorded the match, watched it on TV and had messaged her to confirm that it wasn’t a penalty and the referee was right.
How often do we cry “foul” to God in our own lives when things have not gone that way that we think they should have? How many times have we raised our fists to heaven in the frustrated belief that God hasn’t come through for us and that we’ve been hard done by without realising that God sees more than we do. When we’re in the middle of circumstances, in the heat of the moment, we only ever have a limited view of what is happening, whereas God has access to the full HD, plasma-widescreen view from every angle possible. And so I believe, if God does’t award us the penalty that we think we so rightly deserve, then it must be because there is more to it than what we can possibly see from where we are, and that we won’t really know what that reason is until, like my Mum and Brother, we finally get home and watch the replay for ourselves and that maybe in the meantime we should simply learn to not shout abuse at the referee.