We’ve All Been Cody Parkey

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT)

A loss seemed inevitable Sunday evening. At least that’s the way it seemed to me.

Let me be clear that I wasn’t wanting to see the Philadelphia Eagles lose. I’ll pull for the Eagles any time. Any time, except when they line up opposite the Atlanta Falcons (dare I say it). With heart and grit the Eagles had managed to secure a one-point lead late in the game, but their opponent would not be denied this win on their own Chicago turf. Having moved the ball within field goal range, all the Bears needed was a kick. Their victory would be a close one, but a win is a win.

Enter Cody Parkey. This was his moment. I don’t know what his shoe size is, but that’s how many inches were sustaining the playoff dreams of a team and a city. I hardly need to narrate how this unfolded. The Eagles used a strategically called time-out to mess with Parkey’s head. And then the teams lined up a second time. The snap. The kick.

And then the shock. Stunned disbelief on both sides of the field.

The kick went too far left, struck the upright, ricocheted to the lower part of the goal post and fell into the endzone. Of course, one side of the field moved quickly beyond disbelief to elation. The other side appeared nearly paralyzed by what they’d just seen and by what it meant. There were plenty of cameras zeroed in on the reactions to Parkey’s failed kick. The facial expressions said it all.

Once It’s Done, It’s Done

Thousands witnessed this moment in Soldier Field, but the one face that gripped my attention was the face of the kicker. What was going through his mind as he watched the trajectory of the ball? What would it be like for him in the locker room? I’ve read that fans booed him off the field. Some speculate that he won’t be on the Chicago roster for the 2019 season.

I like winning, but my competitive inclinations fall far short of ‘fierce.’ Sure, I was glad to see the Eagles win. But that gladness was matched by a sense of grief for Cody Parkey.

Perhaps things aren’t truly as bad for Parkey as they seemed in the final seconds of Sunday’s game. On Monday the NFL determined that Parkey’s kick was actually ‘blocked’ – the ball’s path altered ever so slightly by a defender’s fingertip. There may be solace in that for Cody Parkey, except for one unaltered fact: the final score.

The hopes of the team rested with the kicker. The points needed for a win were his to secure. That did not happen.

A final score is indeed just that. Final. No one offered Cody Parkey a chance to do the kick over, to try again. Field goals are not done as a best of three endeavor. No, there’s one kick that counts and once that’s done, it’s done.

Time to ‘Reset’

Can you think of a moment in your life that you’d give anything to get back? A moment that you’d do differently if you could? You’ve grown up, you’ve learned some things, and if you could try again, you’d get it right. Most of us have such a moment. Some of us might have several. We’ve all been Cody Parkey – missing a moment, for whatever reason, and yearning for a do-over.

Here’s some good news for the start of a new year: the life of faith is not a field-goal. God doesn’t give us one chance to get it right. New beginnings are possible, even encouraged and invited. God’s mercies truly do come to us afresh with each new day, each new year. Is there an area of your life where you need to ‘Reset’ – come back at it in a fresh way, renewed and restored?

You were never meant to be defined by one missed moment. It’s possible to reset, and there’s no better time than right now.


Ever Patient God, your mercies come to us in new ways with each morning. We wake up every day knowing our need of your grace. We enter this year grateful for new beginnings. You make it possible for us to reset, to be renewed in our walk of faith as we rely on your Spirit. Guide us in these days, and in days yet to come we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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