HUNTINGDON - January 19, 2012 - Tim Tebow is truly an anomaly. First, by miraculously surviving his mother’s tenuous pregnancy, shocking doctors by being born healthy and normal. Today, the strapping six-foot, 240 pounder continues to fascinate and amaze the world with his football skills with the Denver Broncos and his unabashed faith, which he demonstrates by openly praying and espousing his Christian beliefs.
In a world where cynicism and rhetoric often usurp values and faith, many may doubt Tebow’s existence is the product of the prayer that he and his family credit for his life. In the book, Through my Eyes, written about Tebow’s life and faith, he expounds on his mother’s pregnancy and his subsequent birth in the Philippines.
“An abortion is the only way to save your life,” he says a doctor told his mother. His parents, Robert and Pam Tebow, vehemently agreed that they would not have an abortion. Instead, the couple decided to pray throughout the pregnancy.
The Tebows were serving as missionaries in the Philippines when they learned that Pam was pregnant with their fifth child. Pam Tebow’s pregnancy troubles began after she contracted amoebic dysentery, a relatively common pregnancy complication in the Philippines.
The aggressive medications used to treat the disease can result in fetal abnormalities or stillbirths. In spite of a significantly increased risk to Pam, as well as the baby, the Tebows relied upon their faith to get them through the crisis. A sense of “unexpected and indescribable peace. God’s peace” filled the couple during the pregnancy, Tebow said in his book.
Because of the difficult pregnancy, the Tebows traveled to Manila for the baby’s birth. “Mr. Tebow, your child is a miracle baby. I can’t explain how it happened, but despite all odds, he beat them. Only a small part of the placenta was attached, but it was just enough to keep your baby nourished all these months,” the physician told Tim’s father after his birth.
A 30-second ad titled “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life” about the Tebows’ experience aired during the 2010 Super Bowl. In the ad, sponsored by Focus on the Family, Tim Tebow and his mother did not mention the word, “abortion,” but briefly discussed Tim being “a miracle baby.”
“He almost didn’t make it into this world. I remember so many times when I almost lost him. It was so hard. Well, he’s all grown up now, and I still worry about his health. Everybody treats him like he’s different, but to me, he’s just my baby. He’s my Timmy, and I love him.”
The ad then concludes with Tebow mock tackling his mother.
Tebow’s rise to fame as an NFL quarterback for the Denver Broncos has been an inspiring story, from his “miraculous” birth, his home schooled education, followed by his college football career at the University of Florida. While playing college football, Tebow was the starting quarterback for three of his four years. He also received the 2007 Heisman Trophy.
In spite of abysmally low SAT scores prior to entering college, Tebow again surprised his detractors by graduating with honors with a B.S. in Family, Youth, and Community Services in 2009. In addition, Tebow devoted more than 700 hours to community service during his senior year.
More impressive than Tebow’s athletic and academic achievements is his demonstration of Christian love and charity to those less fortunate. In January of 2010, Tebow established the Tim Tebow Foundation, which partners with CURE International, to bring “physical and spiritual healing to the world’s poorest children.” Through this philanthropic foundation, Tebow is able to use his notoriety for a greater good. Among its many services, the foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening diseases.
Recently, Tebow demonstrated his compassion for those who are stricken with a life-threatening illness by having a pre-game visit with a teenager who has an autoimmune disease. Bailey Knaub, a Colorado high school student, has battled this illness since her diagnosis at age seven. Since that time, she has undergone 73 surgeries, one which involved the removal of a lung. Bailey has admired and followed Tebow’s career since he was a student at the University of Florida. Bailey’s cousin contacted the Tim Tebow Foundation, which resulted in the visit.
The organization’s website states that the strategy for the outreach of the foundation is “to use the platform that God has give to Tim to fulfill the foundation’s mission of bringing faith, hope, and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”
Tebow devotes much of his time off the football field serving children through his foundation. A great deal of his charitable work has been done in the Philippines, much like his parents.
The poverty that Tebow says has seen in the Philippines has heightened his sensitivity and compassion to those in need. Humble about his football prowess, Tebow sees his talent as a conduit to making a difference in the world and setting a good example for children and teens.
“Success comes in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t come with money and it doesn’t come with fame. It comes from having a meaning in your life, doing what you love and being passionate about what you do. That’s having a life of success. When you have the ability to do what you love, love what you do, and have the ability to impact people … That’s having a life of success. That’s what having a life of meaning is,” Tebow says.
One of Tebow’s favorite Bible verses also exemplifies the life that he is striving to lead: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things … And the God of peace will be with you.” ~ Phillipians 4:8-9.
The construction of a children’s hospital in the Philippines, expected to cost $3 million, is the Tim Tebow Foundation and CURE International’s next goal. The hospital will be located in Mindanao, Philippines, an extremely impoverished area.
A quote by the late Mother Theresa seems to summarize Tebow’s goals as a Christian and as a human being:
“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely, and the unwanted, according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”
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