Tuesday, July 13, 2004

July 13, 2004

6:58 AM I am reprinting today’s Crosswalk weblog entry here for reasons that will be obvious: Saint Mike (I wrote this column in 1993 when Mike Ditka was fired as coach of the Chicago Bears. It seems appropriate to reprint it since Da Coach is thinking about running for the senate. I don’t know if he should run or not, but I’d pay good money to watch Senator Ditka take on Ted Kennedy.) One hates to quibble with great men, especially men of vast achievement who speak in a moment of personal crisis. I am referring to Mike Ditka’s moving comments last Tuesday upon the occasion of his firing as the coach of the Chicago Bears. The coach began his brief remarks with these words, “Scripture says, ’This too shall pass’ “—referring to his current public humiliation. As soon as he said it, a little bell went off in my mind. Where does the Bible say, “This too shall pass?” After a few seconds, I decided that it sounded biblical even if I didn’t know exactly the text Saint Mike was quoting. But this morning, the question was still bouncing off the walls of my mind. Does the Bible really say “This too shall pass” or is it in a category with “Cleanliness is next to godliness” and “God helps those who help themselves"? After enlisting the aid of several friends, I determined that no verse in the Bible says, “This too shall pass.” The phrase comes from an old tale about an Oriental monarch who asked his wise men to come up with a sentence that would suit every occasion, good or bad. Abraham Lincoln once repeated the story and then added this comment concerning “This too shall pass": “How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!” Mike Ditka was right to quote those words—even if they don’t come from the Bible—for they truly apply to his situation. And the thought is entirely biblical—the good times and the bad times, the joys and the sorrows, the Super Bowl victories and the untimely firings—they all eventually pass away. The coach (and all the rest of us) would do well to ponder what the Scripture actually says in I John 2:17—"The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."

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