A Super Bowl Underdog

Text: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Nick Foles will be the man at the helm for the Philadelphia Eagles when they take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. The backup quarterback, who replaced Carson Wentz following a season-ending knee injury, has played an unlikely role in getting to football’s grandest stage.

Foles was drafted in 2012 and burst onto the NFL scene with one of the greatest passing seasons in Eagles history. Then after being traded a couple of times over the next few years, it seemed that his NFL career was going in the wrong direction. In the summer of 2017, Foles spoke about how discouragement nearly led him to give up on the game. “I wanted to retire from the NFL, and I really struggled,” he said. “I couldn’t pick up a football for about eight months. I had no love for the game, and it was tough.”

It was a time of prayer and daily communion with God that reinvigorated his passion for the sport. Foles shared that God was bringing him down to his knees. He felt the Lord was saying, “Just take a step of faith. You’re either going to stop playing the game of football and you’re going to go onto a different area of your life and I’m going to be with you, I’m going to be the most important thing in your life, or you’re going to step back into football and you’re going to continue to play and I’m going to be with you every step of the way and you’re going to play to glorify me.”

It was 2 Corinthians 12:9 that graced him in his decision to return to the NFL:

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

After winning the NFC Conference Championship, Foles was interviewed three times: on the field, on the podium while receiving the trophy, and then in a postgame press conference. Each time, he paused and recognized that he would not have been there without his faith: “Words can’t describe what I feel right now. All glory belongs to God. I’m grateful and humbled to be part of this team.”

I imagine it will be a surreal moment when Nick Foles steps onto the field tonight in Minneapolis, knowing that none of this would be a reality had God not granted him the strength to carry on in weakness.

We all experience times of weakness—times when it feels like we just can’t go on. The will to overcome appears to be lost. It might even look like our best days are behind us. Our passion fades. Our love for the game of life and its purpose grows faint. Those moments are real to us all, not just NFL quarterbacks.

You might find yourself in one of those seasons right now. Maybe you feel weak or powerless about your circumstances. It might also be tempting to see your weakness as a liability that disqualifies you before God. But the truth is, your weakness is an asset to God. It’s the place where He can display His power and sufficiency in ways that would be impossible to rob Him of His glory—that place where “only-God” breakthroughs happen.

Paul pleaded three times for his weakness to be taken away. Then he learned the spiritual art of letting his life become a canvas for God to magnify Himself through weakness. The display resulted in something Paul described as “perfect.” The Greek word is teleioō, meaning to make complete, to accomplish, to bring to the desired end, or to reach a goal. It refers to the process or action of overcoming an imperfect or incomplete state with a more perfect or complete one.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed, helpless, or utterly inadequate, you are in a great place to hear Jesus say, I am all the grace you need—grace that is unmistakably completing and fulfilling something favorable in you.


Heavenly Father, help me to know that your grace is sufficient in every weakness. This sufficiency doesn’t mean just barely enough, but profusely more than enough for whatever I face. In times of powerlessness, may I come to see the power of Christ resting upon me. In the fellowship of the Holy Spirit may I also say, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Questions for Reflection and/or Family Discussion:

  1. Why do we love underdog stories? Have you ever played the role of an underdog?
  2. In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, what was the focus of Paul’s boasting?
  3. When was the last time you pleaded desperately with God? What was the outcome?
  4. In what ways has Christ’s power been made perfect in your weaknesses?
  5. How can you boast in Christ’s sufficiency this week?

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