Nick Foles, the Super Bowl winning MVP quarterback, had far from a smooth ascent to his current position atop the football world. Just a year and a half ago, he was released (or fired) over the phone on the reality show, “Hard Knocks.” Before deciding to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs, he considered quitting football. After a season on the Chiefs’ bench, the Eagles signed him to back up Carson Wentz, and when Wentz was injured amid a breakout season, Foles stepped in with the pressure of maintaining a Super Bowl run squarely on his shoulders. Despite finishing the regular season as the best team in its conference, the Eagles were still underdogs in each of their playoff games and became the first one-seed to win the Super Bowl despite being favored to lose every postseason game they played.
Now that the Eagles’ improbable run to becoming champions is over, Nick Foles addressed his journey to the media, and his answer might surprise you.
Many people wondered how Nick Foles was able to manage the struggle of facing as daunting an opponent as Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots in light of his past failures. His answer to overcoming his struggles was clear. It was those failures that molded him and formed the character to deal with what would be an overwhelming task for most. And, his explanation for how he could turn failure into success was equally clear. “That’s where my faith comes in, that’s where my family comes in,” Foles said. Before the game even began, he spent his interview time expressing his humility and thankfulness toward God for having this incredible opportunity that he likely did not anticipate. His story reminds me of a verse, with which I’m sure Foles, as a man of faith, is familiar.
“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:1-8)
As Foles points out in his opinion on social media, so often we feel we need to justify ourselves in front of one another. We all have our “highlight reels” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., as if our justification or right to life and joy is born out of our worthiness to have it. But, God is a loving Father who delights in us regardless of our talents and flaws, merely because we are his children. We don’t need to justify ourselves before God, because we can’t and His love for us is not based in our worthiness. Rather, we are meant to humble ourselves with a repentant heart and confess our faults and our flaws before God. In doing so, we can have the quiet confidence to face life’s struggles because we know that God loves us despite our worst sins, flaws, and faults.
In the end, our highlight reels will stop playing. The earth’s memory of us will surely fade with time, even for a Super Bowl winning quarterback like Nick Foles. On that day, all the time we spent puffing ourselves up in our pride will be for naught. It will be wasted, like building castles in the sand before the tide comes in. But, if we show humility, if we spend our lives repenting of our wrongdoing and dedicating our efforts, not to self-promotion, but to living a life for and with God, our souls will never fade. They will be illuminated by the light of lights and Lord of Lords, and we will have more than the world’s favor, we will have eternal joy.