Auburn knocked off top-ranked Alabama on the last play of the 2013 Iron Bowl in a most unlikely fashion – and it was kind of a repeat. In their previous game Auburn had beaten Georgia with a Hail Mary touchdown pass on fourth and eighteen with seconds to go in the game. Auburn commentator Rod Bramblett shouted “A miracle in Jordan-Hare! A miracle in Jordan-Hare!” The play would later be dubbed “The Prayer at Jordan-Hare.”
That victory snatched from the jaws of defeat set up the Iron Bowl with the winner landing a spot in the SEC Championship game. As the last play unfolded with Chris Davis returning a Bama missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown, the call by Rod Bramblett was as exciting as the play. Once again in his own inimitable way he yelled with jubilant disbelief “Auburn is gonna win the football game! Auburn is gonna win the football game.” Like the Tiger fans storming the field, his enthusiasm couldn’t be contained.
Now at the risk of reading too much into a couple of Bramblett’s exclamations, (and I suffer no delusion that his focus in that instant was on God, though I have no way of truly knowing), the most poignant thing he could come up with in a moment like that was in fact, “Oh my God.” And then, “And we thought A Miracle in Jordan-Hare was amazing! Oh my Lord in Heaven!”
These comments are instructive; while he simply could have been taking the Lord’s name in vain, we can at least say his worldview has been influenced in some way by Scripture. In two games he refers to miracles. In the second, he appeals to “[his] Lord in Heaven.” Whether knowingly or not in his case, for those who do know, can there be any response in the most exciting moments of life other than to give glory to God? For some, God is a throwaway, an afterthought, a common expletive, etc. But for those who truly know Him, we can’t but bubble over with Him in all of life. He’s our focus. And while Bramblett was no doubt focused on Auburn, his only explanation for their victories over Georgia and Alabama was – well – God. In his mind they were miracles – God’s intervening to suspend what naturally should have happened.
No Christian wants to hear the Lord’s name in vain; it’s offensive. And admittedly while my sentimentality could be getting in the way, I was not offended by Bramblett’s words (on the surface). It’s not that I’m an Auburn fan (I’m not). It’s not that I know where Bramblett stands with Christ (I don’t). But it’s that the words were only fitting – true miracle or not – (actually just providence). But indeed providence. God was in it whether most understand that or not and we ought to acknowledge that. As my friend Jay Younts is prone to say, the news and weather casters don’t tell the truth. They talk about political maneuvers and natural disasters; dictators and weather systems; but they don’t talk about God. No matter what the news or weather – God is doing something. We used to acknowledge that but no longer. But we should. Whether Bramblett meant it or not, he spoke truth.
And that’s why tears well up in my eyes every time I hear Bramblett’s call at the end of the Iron Bowl. Though I’m not an Auburn fan, I rejoice with those who rejoice (Rom. 12:15), but I rejoice even more when Christ is exalted (Phil. 1:18). And it’s true: Oh my Lord in Heaven – oh how He reigns!
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