Just like a long, smooth drive off the tee gives a golfer hope and keeps bringing him back to the course, a come-from-behind, buzzer-beating win will bring any coach or player back to the court. As we discussed last week, there’s always a chance until the buzzer sounds, but a team coming from behind has to persevere and push to the end. Our Concordia team did just that in our last game with a bid to our conference tournament on the line:
Despite being down by seven with six minutes to go, we fought back to take the lead, gave it up with :25 on the clock, and then won it on a last second inbound play when a freshman, Jordan Johnson, hit the winning shot. It’s the thrill that keeps on giving and hopefully, provides a spark that will sustain us in postseason play next week, but life in this world is more about the struggle or the push than it is about the thrills. Let’s examine that need to push and what it means.
BASKETBALL – Push!
Our team’s comeback was topped by the amazing perseverance of Bucknell in their game with Colgate on Monday. Did you catch this?
Down by eight with 25 seconds remaining, the Bison pushed their way to the final second and came out with the victory. There are not too many more gratifying things that can happen on the court than to pull that off, and Bucknell reminded all of us what can happen when a team pushes to the end and perseveres. No matter what your team’s situation may be as the season draws to a close or as the clock winds down in a game, keep pushing and never give up.
LIFE – Never Give Up!
As I observe basketball, God speaks to me. You may doubt that or think I’m overstating it, but I believe He has always talked to me through the challenges I have faced in life, as well as in those things most dear to me. This past Wednesday, three of my passions collided in Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, and Game Day – my faith, my wife, and my career. And in each of those, God has been reminding me to continue to push until the end. It would have been easy to neglect Ash Wednesday, but focusing on the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross as we continue through Lent continues to strengthen my faith. Lately God has reminded me to never give up on that. And as I considered that sacrifice, God turned my attention to my wife. It would have been easy, in the craziness of our schedules, to overlook the person I share all of life with, Kara. We have persevered together through many challenges already and expect that we will see many more, but God has been reminding me that she is a special gift directly from Him. I have to push for our marriage. It either continues to grow or it becomes stagnant. I’m pushing for it to grow. Finally, Wednesday was a game day with all of the focus it requires. At this point in a long, up and down season, it would have been easy to allow a “whatever happens, happens” mentality to creep in, but that’s no way to go through a season, or for that matter, a career. You can always grow in your profession. You can always push a little harder.
FAITH – Prayer
You may have come across the acronym P.U.S.H. that has become popular with the bracelet and jewelry wearing crowd. The sentiment is powerful – Pray Until Something Happens. As I watch teams persevere to the end in a comeback win, I am reminded how vital persistence in prayer is in my life. Too often, many of us treat prayer as a wish list or a hope for some outcome that we desperately need or want. Or as I deal with young people unfamiliar with Christ or lacking commitment in their faith, it can become an unfocused and insincere routine that means very little. We tend to twist the whole concept and then grow frustrated or disinterested when things don’t work out like we want. Many of us even blame God or lose interest in God by claiming that prayer doesn’t work or that God doesn’t care about our wants and desires or even that God doesn’t exist – but, is that how prayer works?