Brock Purdy is Making the Super Bowl About More Than Football.

Brock Purdy is Making the Super Bowl About More Than Football.

Brock Purdy is not the first NFL player to express his faith in God throughout the NFL Playoffs. 

Houston Texans CJ Stroud notably praised Jesus Christ after their win over the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh prayed in the locker room with his team, giving thanks. 

All cool moments. All dim in comparison to Brock "Mr. Irrelevant" Purdy.

There are a lot of incredible moments to highlight about Purdy, but only in recent history. He was selected as the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and only found himself on the field after two sets of prior quarterbacks went out with injuries. The rest is history, but his football accolades are dim in comparison to who Purdy is under the pads and helmet.

"I believe that Jesus Christ did come down and died for my sins and rose again, and He is living and sitting beside God on the throne," Purdy told Sports Spectrum in February. The teachings of the Bible have prepared Purdy for his shining moment under the lights and eyes of millions. 

I bring up Purdy and his rise in sports fandom because of a separate interview he had this week in pre-Super Bowl media availability. Purdy was asked to share the scripture passages dearest to his heart. 

"I've said it a lot... but Psalm 23," Purdy told reporters. "Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

What sets Purdy apart from many other celebrity believers is the backdrop of his praise: not after victory, but before battle. Like shepherd boy David standing before the giant Goliath, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day, the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I'll strike you down. .  ."

There is an identity piece attached to Purdy's faith. Even at the top of the social ladder, Purdy finds a way to place his identity in God. "(God) gives me peace; he gives me the calmness and steadfastness," Purdy said. "In those moments (of difficulty), that's what I can think back to."

Here is why this matters. 

There is a flip side to this equation that deserves equal attention. Every summer, I take a group of Americans to one of the poorest countries in the world: Liberia. Suppose Super Bowl Sunday is on one end of the spectrum. In that case, an everyday Sunday in Liberia is on the opposite side. 

Greed, war, and violence have ripped Liberia apart. 83% of Liberians live on less than $1.25/day. It is also one of the world's youngest populations, with a median age of 18. That means a large number of children are growing up with poor nutrition, poor education, and poor living conditions. 

And yet, despite devastating circumstances being a daily reality for Liberians, I have never met more faithful believers in Jesus Christ. Their faith is based on their identity, like the poor widow Jesus identified to his disciples, who placed two small copper coins into the temple treasury. 

Here is why this matters. 

The rest of us can be found between Brock Purdy and the unnamed Liberian child. Two opposite extremes that, from the outset, display a faith in Jesus that transcends circumstances. And yet, I am consistently asking God for even more: more success, more fortune, more luck, more love, more opportunity, and more time. 

Purdy and the unnamed Liberian child teach the same lesson:

  • You can have everything, and God is enough.
  • You can have nothing, and God is enough. 

I don't want to believe it. Many others don't want to believe it either. 

Where is the line between the platitude, "God is enough!" and the truth that God is enough?

We know what God has said about himself but don't believe it. "In this world, you will have trouble," Jesus told His disciples. "But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) 

But we will add caveats and addendums:

  • "I have overcome the world. . unless you live in a world-torn country."
  • "I have overcome the world. . unless your marriage has fallen apart."
  • "I have overcome the world. . unless you're still single."

Experiencing God as fully enough for our circumstances doesn't start with emotion, like celebrating a win over a team in the Playoffs or advocating for innocent victims in the Gaza Strip. It begins with conviction. 

If we live as if God is not enough and talk as if God is not enough, why would we expect anything else? 

The conviction of things not seen. 

God has not changed. He has not moved. God's grace for Paul is sufficient for us today (2 Cor. 12:9). "My power is made perfect in weakness." In other words, His strength, wisdom, love, and presence are at full throttle when you are at your weakest moment.

man in orange top beside eyeglasses on brown book
Photo by Samuel Martins / Unsplash

So here I am, trying to find my place between Brock Purdy and my Liberian friends. I desperately seek a dependence on God that doesn't rely on what is happening to me or those around me. 

As I told someone in the social media comment section, "I don't have a good answer [for the suffering of so many in the world]. I try to lean into the promise of James 4:8, that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. When we invite Him to come close, He always accepts our invitation.

There are so many things I have no influence over, but this one is in my complete control: a conviction that God is enough for me today.