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Watching, waiting

Prime time and God's time; perseverance and the Saints

Recovery time

As the New York Yankees headed to the World Series, the saga of one Yankees player, Darryl Strawberry, continued to receive wide attention. The outfielder moved from alcohol and drug abuse and other problems a decade ago to belief in Christ: "The Lord directs me now, and I couldn't be happier" (WORLD, Sept. 12). But faith does not bring about a happy-ever-after ending in this life: Mr. Strawberry early this month was operated on for colon cancer. Doctors proclaimed the operation successful but, as in all cancer cases, watchful waiting in the coming months and years will be necessary. The same patience is needed in discussing happy events, such as sinners coming to Christ. Early in this decade, when Mr. Strawberry began attending Baseball Chapel, photographers were in his face as he was trying to pray. Celebrity new believers need time to grow as do others, but all too often they receive big publicity right away. Sometimes it's hard to be silent and hear the Lord when flash bulbs are popping all around. Prime time

Dallas Cowboys football star Deion Sanders has gained great publicity concerning his new allegiance to Christ. He's done many post-game interviews this month because of his actions on the field; he scored touchdowns in one game by running back both a kick and an interception, and on Oct. 11, he preserved a Cowboys victory by intercepting a pass in the closing minutes of the game. Mr. Sanders, once known as "Prime Time" for his flamboyance on and off the field, used every opportunity to tell reporters, "I'm trying to bury that. Prime Time is God's time now." On Oct. 11 he carried his young son in one arm and a Bible under the other as he told a crush of journalists, "I feel peace now that was missing from my life in the past." The Cowboys, publicized as "America's Team" because of their nationwide popularity earlier in the decade, have many Christian fans who are praying for Mr. Sanders's perseverance on and off the field. One Sanders supporter is new coach Chan Gailey, who told the Dallas Morning News, "I don't ever want to hide the fact that I'm Christian." He said that the one person he would most like to meet is Jesus Christ, and added that if he were president for a day he would push for prayer in public schools.

-Erin Anthony and Jonna Stout Crunch time

Earlier this month at the Louisiana Superdome, the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints were tied 27-27 in the fourth quarter. The Patriots marched down the field and had six seconds left for Adam Vinatieri to try a field goal. What goes through a kicker's mind at a time like that? "Trusting in the Lord gives me a sound state of mind in those types of situations," Mr. Vinatieri told WORLD. "It's a situation where the Lord has given me talents to use. I can't say that I still don't get nervous or anything, but just knowing that he's out there with me is comforting to me when I'm in a situation like that." Mr. Vinatieri became a Christian about two years ago when he joined the Patriots out of that mighty pigskin powerhouse, South Dakota State. "I was brought up in a Christian household," he remarked, "but I didn't have a personal relationship with the Lord. The Patriots' chapel leader, Walt Day, and [former teammate] Corwin Brown and some of the other guys introduced me to the Lord through Bible study groups and witnessing to me." On the field, Mr. Vinatieri has learned, "Christian players can give 100 percent and make hard tackles and big plays and still help a guy up afterward." On Oct. 4 with six seconds left in the game, the ball was snapped. Mr. Vinatieri swung his right leg into action. The ball shot high into the Superdome air and whistled right between the crossbars. New England Patriots 30, New Orleans Saints 27. Ballgame. This ending was sweet for Mr. Vinatieri, but sad for the Saints, including their coach, Mike Ditka, and others on the team who have also expressed faith in Christ. They, along with Mr. Vinatieri, could have recourse to the Patriot kicker's favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13: "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

-Steve Guschov

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has also been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books, including Reforming Journalism. Marvin resides with his wife, Susan, in Austin, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.