My son’s state championship football game was ready to start. Both teams were geared up and anticipating a win. The bleachers filled and excitement mounted. The opposing team won the coin toss and chose to receive. The football was kicked as the game roared to life.
They scored and then scored again. First quarter ended 14-0.
They scored a third time. Second quarter ended 21-0.
Coming back from half time they scored again. Third quarter ended 27-0.
We began the fourth quarter down by four touchdowns. The game was nearly over and we were going to lose. The opponents became proud and haughty assuming they were taking away the Championship title and trophy.
On the first play of the fourth quarter we finally scored a touchdown, making the score 27-7. Shortly thereafter they fumbled; we recovered and scored 27-14. A few minutes later we intercepted a pass to score again, 27-21. We had ourselves a ballgame!
The other stands had grown quiet while ours had erupted and everyone came to their feet. Their players had turned on each other as we began working in one accord. What once was arrogance and haughtiness had been replaced with a lesson in humility.
Minutes left in the fourth quarter, they drove the football down the field and nearly scored. But on a third down they fumbled and we recovered. Scoring with a pass the score was now tied 27 – 27. Two minutes left in the fourth quarter and they had the ball.
Once again, they drove it down the field trying to use up the time, with the hopes of either scoring to clench the win or going into overtime. But neither was destined to happen.
In their red zone we intercepted the ball and ran it up the field. Two plays later with a beautiful thrown pass we went up with the score of 27-34. Our fans went crazy, while theirs stood their quietly stunned.
Our team walked away with the win, the trophy, and the State Championship title for our division.
Interestingly, I was able to call my son this morning to remember that game. He was 17 at the time, and 27 now. Since then he played QB another year of high school; two years in Junior College; earned a full ride scholarship to play football in Hawaii for three years and now plays on a Semi-Pro team, yet he remembered that game with clear accuracy.
Why? That one game left an indelible mark on his life and those of his teammates.
Heck, it left a mark on mine but in a different way.
Halfway through the game, surrounded by our entire family, I became sick. Sitting at the top of the bleachers I worked myself into a frenzy, because I knew I was going to throw-up! I had to leave, but I didn’t know if I could make it down the stairs before I did the dirty deed.
My sister drove me home. I was disappointed for our team, sensed I was abandoning them in their time of need, and I was feeling like a wimp. Lying on the couch, praying for them while waiting to hear the outcome, my phone rang.
I answered it yet didn’t understand what my son was saying. He was screaming and I couldn’t decipher his words. The noise in the background was so loud he had to walk away from the crowd so I could understand.
Unintentionally that place was in the middle of the football field. Bent over with excitement my son was yelling into the phone, “MOM, WE WON! WE WON!” Instantly the cameras flashed and that picture made the newspaper.
Sometimes, I feel like my life plays out like that game:
· I think I am doing great and have a chance but the opposing team overwhelms me.
· I feel defeated and beat up.
· I watch the score keep going up – for them.
· I listen to the opponents snide and arrogant remarks making me feel less than.
Yet, I KNOW I am on the winning team!
Simply put, the enemy makes me feel like he’s going to win, but he is wrong. He keeps scoring and appears like he’s winning, but is really defeated. Life’s game was won 2000 years ago when Jesus was crucified and rose again. The game finished but the enemy keeps playing for revenge.
· He tries to take out as many opponents as he can.
· He plays dirty by wounding with cheap shots.
· He shouts out arrogant accusations.
· He’s a poor loser.
I am victorious because Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
I’m going to stay on the winning team, how about you?