This past weekend was a bit of an oddity in college football—there were no upsets among the top 20 teams, and only one in the top 25. With as much parity as there is in the sport, it has become commonplace for some David-like team to knock off a Goliath-like power, oftentimes in legendary ways (think Appalachian State over Michigan in 2007 when the Wolverines were #5 in the nation). Upsets are great and thrilling and get people who would otherwise be only casually interested to become deeply engaged. But not this weekend. This weekend, the results were all predictable, with the only losing top 20 teams having lost to teams ranked higher than themselves. You had to go all the way to Wake Forest’s victory over #23 Florida State to find your first “upset,” making it a weekend in which ranked teams, for the most part, held serve. It was a brief moment of normalcy in the midst of what has already been a rather chaotic college football season—a moment in which the sport paused and caught its collective breath. For us, life is like that as well. Most of our lives are ongoing, seemingly never-ending moments of concern, pressure, anxiety, struggle, and stress. Economic woes, health concerns, job questions, relationship issues, and spiritual struggles all combine together to form a life that, for the child of God, can often seem unnaturally turbulent. We wonder at the mounting weight of these burdens and wonder if there will ever be normalcy again—and then we find it. A sanctuary of peace in the midst of a stormy world. We find it in the presence of the Savior who is our Shepherd:

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:2-4).

In a turmoil-filled life lived out in a turmoil-filled world, we need that. We need that place of quiet rest (“still waters”) near to the heart of God. What a comfort it is in the midst of the chaos of life to be able to enter into His presence in the quiet place and catch our spiritual breath. I encourage you to find a quiet place, in the safety and protection of the Shepherd, and take a moment to catch your spiritual breath. He waits to encourage us with His love and care!   Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain