God works in mysterious ways

December 5, 2010


“So, is it true? Did you make Steve Johnson drop that ball?”

God glanced over at me. “What are you talking about?”

We had just taken our seats at the basketball game — on the floor right next to the visitor’s bench; God has these amazing connections. “Didn’t you hear?” I told Him. “Last Sunday, Steve Johnson of the Buffalo Bills has this perfect touchdown pass fall right into his hands. Would’ve given his team an overtime victory. And he drops it.”

God’s brow furrowed. “So you’re saying I knocked the ball out of his hands?”

“No,” I said, HE’S the one accusing you. After the game, he went on Twitter and wrote a tweet.”

“He went on what and wrote a what?”

“A tweet. It’s right here in the paper,” I said, handing it to God. And God read the following: “I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO...”

God looked up. “Wow,” he said. “He really loves exclamation points, doesn’t he?”

“Yes,” I said, “but — “

“And why all the capital letters? And what does ‘this how you do me’ mean? That’s not correct. Are they still teaching grammar in the schools?”

“Sometimes I wonder,” I said.

“And he ‘tweeted’ me? I am the sovereign author of creation. I do not tweet!”

“OK,” I said, palms lifted, “but did you do it? Did you make him drop the ball?”

God regarded me for a moment. “Sure did,” he said. “I hate the Bills. Besides, I had a bundle on the Steelers.”

I was shocked. “Really?”

God’s look hardened.

“Oh,” I said. “Joking. I get it.”

God sighed. “I was talking to the devil the other day,” He said. “He has the same problem, people always blaming him for stuff they do. Remember that old Flip Wilson routine, “The Devil Made Me Do It”? Old Scratch always hated that bit. I don’t blame him. You get tired of people putting their foul-ups off on you.”

“I can imagine,” I said.

“No you can’t,” said God. “That’s the point. You people think that if you play nice, I’ll protect you from all pain and give you the desires of your heart and if that doesn’t happen, then I’ve cheated you. But I’m not Santa Claus. I am the great I Am. My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways. You can’t understand one another, you, Mr. Columnist, sometimes can’t even understand yourself. So how do you figure you’re going to understand me?”

He fell silent for a moment. The two teams were at midcourt. The ball was tossed up. The visitors got the tip. “We haven’t got a prayer tonight,” I said. “Our star player is out.”

“Maybe not,” said God. “But there’s a reason they put the ball in play, isn’t there? To see what happens. Because until then, you don’t really know.”

“And you never put a hand on the ball?”

“Suppose I do,” said God. “I’m not saying I knocked that ball out of Steve Johnson’s hands, but what if I did? He thinks it was to teach him a lesson. Maybe it wasn’t even about him. Maybe seeing him fail encouraged or empowered or taught someone else who really needed it. It’s not always about you, you know?”

“Yeah,” I said, “but that’s hard to remember when it’s you out there dropping the ball.”

“I understand,” said God, “but all you have to know is that I love you even when you drop the ball.”

“You’re talking about trust,” I said.

“I’m talking about faith,” said God.

Just then, a great moan went up from the crowd. Our center’s hook shot had been spiked into the upper deck. I hung my head. “It’s going to be a long night,” I said.

“No,” said God, “you’re going to win by 15.”

My head came up. “Really?”

God gave me a look. “Joking,” he said.

— Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CST each Wednesday on


Ray Parker 3 years, 4 months ago

“God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.” . . . Benjamin Franklin, to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (We may presume that Mr. Franklin had no thought to national sports leagues at the time, but would likely have a thought in that direction today, given the preoccupation of many of our newspapers and almanacs with the topic.)


Beth Ennis 3 years, 4 months ago

anyone remember the song by Blood, Sweat and Tears that says: "I can swear there ain't no heaven, but I pray there ain't no hell. But I'll never know by living only my dying will tell". I believe, I loved the article and no one will ever be able to prove or disprove God's existence. That is why it is called faith. Thank you Leonard Pitts!


Gandalf 3 years, 4 months ago

Ya mean god fixes game's? No wonder the mafia is catholic.


beatrice 3 years, 4 months ago

Just more evidence that O.J. Simpson was innocent.

The Bills don't stab -- they choke.


yourworstnightmare 3 years, 4 months ago


Pitts wants us to chuckle at the fuzzy-headedness of the football player, but Pitts' religious insanity is actually more amusing.


jimjones 3 years, 4 months ago

...this explains KU football.


pizzapete 3 years, 4 months ago

I always suspected god has a great sense of humor.


Bruce Springsteen 3 years, 4 months ago

Funny, I was at that same game, sitting on the other side of God. When I turned to ask Him the same questions about what He was up to, God said "Who are you talking to? I don't exist and you have no reason to think I do. Shut up and enjoy the game."

So which theologian putting words in "God's" mouth you gonna believe, Pitts or me? Nothing mysterious about Pitts' god -- he's as transparent as could be. He is whatever Pitts needs him to be, like all gods are to their devotees. Imaginary friends are like that. They do what we tell them to.


CorkyHundley 3 years, 4 months ago

Pitts needs to see the truth. The movie "Knowing" is a good start for him.


Tom Shewmon 3 years, 4 months ago

How come Pitts can use a long string of all caps and we can't? I feel discriminated against. ;-)


i_tching 3 years, 4 months ago

Pitts can be silly sometimes.


friendlyjhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

Thinker, before anybody wants to nail me on it!


friendlyjhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

This man is a marvelous think and writer!


grammaddy 3 years, 4 months ago

Great piece Leonard! You've really been on a roll lately!


Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

WoW! Is this a Pitts column nobody is going to be able to tear apart and accuse him of racism over?


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