We Win

Note: I actually wrote the post below over two years ago, after chaperoning a bus trip to watch our school play in the state basketball tournament.  I never shared it, but found it this afternoon while deleting old files on my computer.  After a week of feeling like I’ve lost many battles, it is comforting for me to remember that we will not lose the war. He’s fighting for me, and the outcome is not in doubt.  

“I believe that we will win.”  Together….united….hoping against all hope that Hoosiers was about to play out in our favor.  Knowing this chance won’t come again in their “lifetime”
He has set eternity in the hearts of men.  The epic battle of good and evil – of men of courage slaying monsters….it has been written on our hearts.  We all know it, embrace it.  That is why we cheer for the underdog.  For the one we know can’t really win, but somehow our hearts tell us it can happen.
David vs. Goliath
A baby in a stable one day conquers a dragon.
Life defeats death.
Light drives our darkness.
Love overcomes hate.
The meek inherit the earth.
Mary is the first to see Jesus after he rises from the dead.
A little boy is used to feed 5000+ by faithfully giving all he has.
A widow’s pennies are cherished by the God of the universe.
Moses stuttered but set a nation free.
Joseph was sold as a slave…falsely accused of a crime…yet honored by a king as a prisoner.
Esther risked her very life for the sake of a nation.
Because we’ve had more than our fair share of things not going right.  Just in the past 10 years we’ve witnessed 9/11, Katrina, tsunami disasters, the earthquake in Haiti.  So much pain and we all know this is not the way things should be.  All of humanity can agree that something is gravely wrong with this world.
Even my students have suffered more than I believe they should.  Over and over we’ve seen it.  Suicide, car accidents, loss of parents, hunting trips gone horribly, horribly wrong.  Even in the short time I’ve been here we’ve lost two students.  Just this past week I witnessed two come terribly close.
So here we were.  Tied at 56 and going into overtime.  We weren’t supposed to have come this far.  Yes, the kids talked about a state championship, but we adults knew the truth.  
We were not supposed to win this game.  The other team was too big, too strong, too experienced.  They’ve played in the big games before….6 years in a row, in fact.  This game should haven’t even been close.
But even so, overtime.  And there they were – over two hundred of our kids standing together, cheering on their classmates as they played in one of the greatest high school basketball games I have ever witnessed.  One turned to the others and began this cheer…
“I….I believe….I believe that….I believe that we….I believe that we will win!”
Such hope, optimism, excitement.  I heard one person say the cheer was stupid.  A reporter later tweeted that it was the most cliché cheer in high school basketball and it needed to go.  I disagree.  For me, this was the most beautiful and precious moment of the whole game.  Let’s not underestimate the power of teenagers united together for a cause, even if this time it was “just a game.”  Let’s remember that they are far more likely to engage in raucous “hate the other team” chants than this simple, innocent creed.  Let’s thank the Lord that their hearts are still convinced that good can conquer evil in this world…and they expect it.
Sometimes it doesn’t go like it should….in basketball or in life.  Stephen was martyred.  Moses never entered the Promised Land.  David was unable to rebuild the temple.  The prophets were tortured; Paul imprisoned.  I could go on and on, but you can find it all in Hebrews 11. Sometimes, in basketball, size and skill have their way.  Shots that fell in the third quarter suddenly won’t drop the last thirty seconds of overtime.  Officials make questionable calls. The final buzzer sounds.  It shouldn’t have ended this way, but it did.
We may not always see the promise come to fruition.
But we still believe.  We don’t lose heart.  We tuck our heads down and head straight for the rim, knowing the prize is worth any scar.  We give up our rights and obey our Father’s commands because the outcome is not in doubt.  He is more than worthy of all we have to give. 
I believe…
….more than that, I KNOW….
I believe that we will win!

“Then it will come to pass, the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.”
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