There was a National College Championship Football game last night…. Alabama and Georgia. The BIG GAME. It was a BIG DEAL. A HUGE deal. And while I’m not that much of a sports fan, I’m married to one and actually I really do like “the big finish” games…… the championships — be it football, basketball, golf, etc. But I know why this is….. in the “big finish games” you get their stories. I’m relational, so all I need are 2 hours of pre-game coverage about their Mama’s sacrifices, their pee-wee football coaches, their Dads having never missed a game, etc. and I can pick my fave!
Game on…. last night. We started well, Carl and I. But they just start these things SO LATE. I knew when we made the decision to switch our watching to the bedroom TV that we probably wouldn’t make it through, plus we were having to set our alarm for 4:15 a.m. the next morning so Carl could get up and get to his brother’s and take him to the airport. 4:15 a.m. is early, so needless to say, we were turning the TV off even before half-time.
4:15 a.m.…. right on cue, that annoying little iPhone alarm. But no problem. Carl’s up! He’s such a good brother. Such a good person, actually. He’s run shuttle service to Florida before, so a 4:15 a.m. local-run is no biggie. I doze back off.
5:15 a.m…… I hear the TV on in the office. Hmmm….. what’s with that? Has it been on and I just didn’t hear it? Did he leave it on when he left at 4:15 a.m.?? Or maybe Carl had a heart attack this morning?? (I inherited that “gift of supposition” from my Mother! If I hear an intense outpouring of sirens and such within the vicinity of roads where “my people” travel, I’ve been known to make those calls… “I heard a lot of sirens out on Knob Creek Rd. and I know you travel that road a lot, are you OK?) … but I digress. Anyway, with the thought of Carl’s early morning heart attack in the back of my mind, I brace myself and go check. Well, there he sat…. watching the ballgame.
Long story short…. he went to his brother’s at 4:15 but the flight was delayed 2 hours so he came back home and thus he was in the office, drinking coffee, watching last night’s BIG GAME! Seriously? The game’s on? Is it a gazillion overtimes?? Did you know that they replay it? We’re early morning people…. not late nighters. This is a great option for folks like us.
Well, the intensity level was rising. I have a little trouble with “rising intensity”. Peace and calm are much more palatable to me. And so at some point I decided to check Facebook and just see who won. I like “knowing how it ends”, it helps me somehow as I watch it unfold. It prepares me. I like to read the end of a book and then read the details. I like for someone to give me the spoiler alert before I watch the movie. And maybe this is why I like Hallmark movies….. seen one, seen ‘em all…. and they all end well. Predictable and prepared are words that people with the “gift of supposition” like. Otherwise, you’re left creating a dozen or more scenarios and you’re torn all to pieces, wondering which one is right!!!
But I knew. I knew who had won the BIG GAME. I told Carl I knew. And I told him that I wasn’t going to divulge that truth, even though I knew it. But what I found interesting is the difference there was in watching it all unfold when there is truth and when you know that truth. It affects everything. I wanted to talk about that. But of course I couldn’t because then he might pick up on who had actually won, and I didn’t want to ruin it for him. Some people evidently like those edgy feelings one gets in the “not knowing”. But I was thinking (and wanting to comment)….. “yeah, that worked well for him, but it’s not enough; ultimately it’s not gonna matter.” Or…. “yeah, bummer, that was a real disappointment, but it’s not gonna matter; life still ends well for them. There’s gonna be a turn around of circumstances that are so amazing that this one little bobble will pale, as though it never happened!”
And as I silently pondered all this, I couldn’t help but think about this thing “TRUTH”. There is a TRUTH, an established, play-by-play TRUTH. It’s the TRUTH of GOD’S HOLY WORD. And I’ve read Revelation (of course I have, it’s the last book, why wouldn’t I?) …. I want to know how it ends. And I’m here to tell you …..it ends well. Or maybe I should say it ends well, depending on which team you’re on! And I think we do well to know that within life there basically are two teams…… those who believe, desire, delight in, and follow hard after JESUS. And those who don’t. Two teams… two groups of people, if you will. This concept is presented in various ways throughout Scripture…. wheat and chaff (Matthew 3:12), sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46), their Father is God or their father is the devil (John 8:42-44). Two groups. One Truth.
And as I ponder this, what a difference it makes as we lament our disappointments, or even as we celebrate small victories along the way. These laments may knock the wind out of us or even feel devastating at the time, but they aren’t the game-changer! And these small victories along the way may seem like a big deal at the time, and undoubtedly they are quite joyous…. but they aren’t the story. TRUTH tells me the story is Jesus. Ever and always, it’s His story. It starts in Genesis 1…. “In the beginning, God…..” The story line continues in John 1…. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” And the story did not end when satan thought it would, ……when Jesus died on the cross. No…. all of that IS the story. The story of rescue, as Jesus took the punishment and judgement for our sin, that we might have His righteousness. Ya gotta love “the great exchange”.
And so the game continues…. the game of life. As believers, we play on…. walking in Him, following hard after Him, listening to Him, obeying Him, talking to Him…..and as we do, we’ll have those devastating disappointments and we’ll have those celebratory highs, but in it all and through it all, we know it ends well. As believers, we end the victor because Jesus has already claimed it! One of my all-time favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.
Alabama has a lot to celebrate today. And celebrate they will. And celebrate they should. And ya gotta love how that little fill-in quarterback gave all glory and credit to God. Young Tua gets it. And that’s good because every game in life doesn’t necessarily end in a win. But our life in CHRIST does….. always. And as we celebrate HIM, ahhhhh, smell that aroma? It’s the fragrance of the knowledge of Him!! Ya gotta love it!