There are No Atheists in Fox Holes

Occasionally, there is a story that goes viral demonstrating hope for our hopelessly divided nation.


While we witnessed a historic vote … I mean, votes, … to elect a new Speaker of the House and accusations of Trump mishandling classified documents and now, “right-back-at-ya” accusations of President Biden mishandling classified documents, we came together as a nation. 


And it happened on the field of sports. 


It all occurred when Buffalo Bills safety, Damar Hamlin, suffered a cardiac arrest after making a tackle in a Monday night football game. While Hamlin was lying motionless on the field for nineteen minutes, many players, from both teams, were weeping and praying. Medical personnel and local paramedics responded quickly and decisively, which led to Hamlin’s heartbeat being restored and to his eventual recovery.


Within minutes of this event, newscasters were praying on national television, and over the course of the following week, the nation responded in prayer, unity, and generosity. As it has been said many times before, “There are no atheists in fox holes.” And in moments like what occurred that Monday night, even atheists hope there is Someone out there who hears our prayers. 


Through this tragedy, the world came together to show support for Hamlin. The displays of humanity—grace, compassion, empathy, and love—have been something truly special. Hamlin’s GoFundMe charity drive to buy toys for kids—which originally aimed to raise $2500—

skyrocketed to nearly $9 million.


Social media feeds were filled with a bold and humble call for people to pray. “Prayer is power and Prayer is POWERFUL we need the world to pray for Damar Hamlin and his family #Love #3,” wrote Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins on Twitter.


Damar Hamlin’s jersey number, #3, became a buzz of speculation in our search for deeper meaning. In their very next game, the Buffalo Bills returned a kickoff for a touchdown. It had been 3 years and 3 months since that had happened previously.


The day after Hamlin collapsed on the field, the Buffalo Sabres' Tage Thompson scored an overtime winner, his third goal of the night exactly 3 minutes into the overtime period. It was also his 3rd hat trick of the season, and the game was played Jan. 3.


Roughly an hour after the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans came together for a group prayer before their do-or-die AFC South title game, Hamlin's Pitt teammate, the Titans' Rashad Weaver, recovered a Jacksonville fumble. But it was no ordinary scoop. The No. 3 on each 30-yard line on fields across the NFL is outlined in red to honor Hamlin. And that's precisely where Weaver recovered the ball.


Hamlin, watching all of this unfold from the hospital, tweeted, “God behind All This, no coincidence.” Is it a coincidence that three represents the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? 


Whatever the case may be, it is evident that “God behind All This,” as He is when we face our trials and hardships. No matter what you may be facing right now, “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).


I’m grateful for the reminder that in a divided nation, united we stand. It’s just too bad that it took a near-fatal event to show us the way.