As I walked upstairs the other night, Rev was rewatching the Ohio State vs Penn State football game. We’d watched it live but he just couldn’t get enough, saying “I think it’s, even more, fun watching it again.”
Now, if you’re a Penn State fan, I want you to know we think your team is amazing, your coach is a class act, and we normally cheer a Penn State victory … except when they play the Buckeyes.
Why am I talking about football?
Because I want to talk about discouragement.
You see, we went into that game nervous. Penn State was undefeated and ranked #2. We knew it would be one of the toughest games of the season.
So, we queued it up and…
Penn State’s Heisman candidate ran the kickoff back for a 97-yard touchdown run and then just a couple of plays later another player took the ball away from the OSU offense and scored again.
It looked like it was going to be worse than we thought and I couldn’t watch.
I was discouraged!
I walked away – choosing to do something else in my office.
But by the end of the half, the Buckeyes had scored a couple of time and although they were still losing it looked like a ballgame.
So, I returned to the family with my iPad in hand. I couldn’t give the game my full attention because although I was no longer without hope … I didn’t believe. I’d look up for instant replays if something good happened and kept myself distracted when it didn’t.
But then the fourth quarter started and there seemed to be a momentum shift. Our quarterback was hitting his targets and the receivers were delivering.
I set my iPad aside and gave my full attention to every play. Cheering and growing more and more hopeful. Until the final few minutes of the game, when Rev and I were on our feet like the kids in stands jumping up and down amazed at and excited at what was taking place.
An upset. Victory out of defeat.
An analogy for life.
It’s so easy for me to get discouraged and want to walk away.
I hear it every day, from moms, dads, and their kids. I hear it from bloggers, from spouses, from employees and business owners. Different ages, backgrounds, ethnicity, etc. It doesn’t matter.
There seems to be an epidemic of discouragement!
Countless people who feel like they can’t possibly win and wonder if they should just walk away.
But when we walk away, we guarantee defeat.
Read that again.
When we walk away, we guarantee defeat!
If it had been up to me, the Buckeyes would not have won that game. I almost let discouragement win.
And I wonder how many times in my life I’ve been guilty of giving up hope too quickly? How many times have I let discouragement defeat me?
Maybe you can relate!
Friend — you and I don’t have to give in to discouragement.
I’ll be honest with you. You and I are going to feel discouraged sometimes. Life is hard. Bad things happen and we are living at a time when it feels like it’s getting hard to catch our breath as we hear about or experience one crisis after another.
But when you know the end – it changes everything. I think that’s why Rev said he was having, even more, fun watching the game the second time. He knew who won!
WE KNOW WHO WON!
Jesus won the victory over our discouragement. We know the end of the game!
Look at this promise from Revelation 21:
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then He said to me, [John] “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And He also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. v. 3—7
That’s our future! And the best part…
It’s not the end. It’s just the beginning.
But if you’re like me, sometimes the days of discouragement and heartache here seem long and lonely. It’s hard to stay focused on eternity when today hurts.
It’s why God didn’t just make promises from heaven but sent Jesus to live in this evil filled world with us. And not just live in the evil but defeat it!
“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.” John 16:33
Jesus knows our struggle. He lived it! More important — He overcame it!
For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. John 12:45–46
We can trust Jesus. We have His Spirit … His light to fill our darkness and give us hope.
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1–3
And when the journey gets discouraging, remember … Jesus is just getting things ready for you and me.
He’s coming back to take us home to celebrate the victory with Him forever.
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