The Last Inning

It was the seventh game in the world series tonight, and since I now call the city of Chicago home, I thought it was my duty to at least watch one game.

Now, the Chicago Cubs have been underdogs for 108 years. (And we think we have it bad!) Yup, that’s right, they haven’t won the world series since 1908. Generations have come and gone in the city of Chicago without their baseball team finding victory.

So, I mean, no pressure.

Now, I’m definitely not qualified to speak intelligently on the topic of sports, but as I attempted to follow along, I watched as the score went from 6 to 3, with the Cubs in the lead, to a surprise 3 runs from Cleveland. For the next couple innings the looks on the faces from those in the stadium witnessing this gridlock 6 to 6 score looked like they were being tortured.

As the camera scanned the crowd, men had their heads buried in their baseball hats, young kids were tugging on their dad’s shirt asking what they thought was going to happen, and women were feverishly biting their nails.

I couldn’t help but laugh! I thought, who signs up for this torture!?

There is this journey that the game of baseball took millions of people on tonight, and there was no predicting what the final outcome would be. We could only grit down and watch with one eye open, hoping that the team we pledged allegiance to would bring it home.

And people pay thousands of dollars to watch this stuff, in person! Why?!

In my limited experience I have found that every competitive and great game in sports usually involves two teams who are giving it everything they have, and in some moments they are closer to winning, and in others, victory seems to be slipping from them. So, we watch on the edge of our seats, fingers crossed, eyes half open, and saying our prayers that our team will win.

My big take away from watching this exciting and torturous game tonight was simple: Victory is that much sweeter in the end because of what the journey required of us in the process.

Well, as it is in baseball so it is in life.

When we don’t know what’s going to happen. When it seems like victory is near and then it’s not. When it seems failure is imminent, and then unexpectedly a turn for the better comes and revives our hope.

When we gain ground and celebrate with the people that are on the journey with us. When we lose ground, and weep with the people on the journey with us. When we have all intentions of doing well, and then fall flat on our face.

Every struggle and battle we have faced, has the power to forge something strong and priceless in us, if we allow it. The not knowing, the winning, the failing, the celebrating, the mourning…it’s all a perfect picture of life. As we journey through each one of these experiences, we learn to anchor our hope in God, and allow Him to create something beautiful in us.

Then when it’s day seven, the bottom of the 10th inning, and the Cub’s players and fans erupt into ecstatic joy because they won the world series, everyone suddenly realizes that all the hard work and not knowing was worth it.

And when God finally leads us into victory; oh how sweet that will be. Not only because victory finally came, but because we are finally the people ready to appreciate it, and receive it for all it is meant to be.

And to all the dedicated and disappointed Cleveland fans out there, this year’s win just happened to belong to Chicago. I’m sure your day will come too.

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ..” 2 Corinthians 2:14

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