“It’s not fair.”
That’s what I can hear fans of the Chicago Cubs baseball team saying year after year after year. For 108 years.
Until last night.
I’m trying to figure out why so many of us root for the team that seems to have little odds of winning. As a Christian, I keep coming back to a well-known verse in Amos (6:8) which I learned close to the NKJV which follows:
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly*, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
*often quoted by people as “to do justice” as found in NASB, NRSV, ESV and about 10 others
Perhaps last night’s win satisfies my sense of justice. They deserved this, right? But after waiting since 1908, it also meets the criteria for mercy. [add rim shot]
I don’t know that it’s right to call Chicago the underdog last night, because statistically, they were long overdue for the win. They were certainly the favorite, though, especially among nominal fans and people like me who don’t follow Major League Baseball much at all. (Ask yourself, when have you ever seen a sports-themed article here?)
But then there was Cleveland, whose nearly 70 years since a World Series win isn’t as long, but is certainly significant. Writing this morning at Daily Encouragement, Stephen Weber shares:
One of the great sports scenes I’ve enjoyed since my childhood is that of a winning team gathering on the field to celebrate after winning a championship game, expressing the thrill of victory. Of course it’s all the more meaningful if it’s “my” team but I can even get into the sensation of the moment when it’s not. Watching the joyous celebration last night after the Chicago Cubs win I also experienced the thrill of victory, although due to the very late hour I didn’t watch very much of it!!!
But last night I also noted the profound disappointment and even despair of the players and fans of the Cleveland Indians expressing the agony of defeat. That’s the nature of sports, there are winners and there are losers. However having no specific loyalties last night my focus was on the thrill of victory.
We are now in the midst of a great spiritual contest and sometimes with our eyes what we see sure doesn’t look much like victory. But the Bible informs us (those who follow and obey Christ) that we are on the winning side…
…I’m sure glad to be on God’s team today. Yes, there are setbacks for every believer and even apparent losses in this great spiritual contest. But God turns our losses into gains, our failures into His victory, our conflict into His peace, and our weakness into His strength. The all-surpassing power from God is seen through the endurance of the believer in the midst of life’s ups and downs.
Paul encourages us not to lose heart as he describes the challenging turmoil believers suffer and their triumphant outcome: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9). But Paul continues with this spiritual diamond of inestimable value, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).