I work with the University of New Mexico Lobo Basketball team as their Video Coordinator and have done that for 8 years with one year off last season.
Currently the team is 11-7 and we are on a 4 game losing streak. This past week we went to Colorado Springs to play the Air Force Academy Falcons. The Falcons are currently ranked in the top 15 in the nation and their 1 lose came to Duke.
We started the game off good, we were up by as much as 21 points and went into the half up 15, well in the locker room we were all celebrating and feeling like we could beat any team in the nation at that point. But that is why they play 2 halves. In the 2nd Half we lost our lead and in fact they went on something like a 28-1 run, so needless to say it was a feeling of shock and defeat in the locker room after the game.
This game for me reflects how a lot of people live their life, how a lot of Christians sadly view their life. We praise God and feel like "If He is for us who can be against us?" when we get the promotion or find that special someone. We listen to preachers (I use that word loosely) Joel Osteen, who tells us that the champion is inside us and we have the power to get rich, stay healthy and all we need to do is be positive. And when everything in life seems to be falling in place we lift our hands and in a way our chins to say see this is "Victorious Christian Living". This is the gospel for many, follow Christ and life will be good, God wants you to have the best now, Victory is only in Jesus for that new H3 Hummer.
And then the 2nd Half comes, and we lose our job due to downsizing, the test results say we have cancer, and our marriage is on rocky ground. What is the answer then for us? Many try to bargain with God; "Maybe if I tithe more then the blessings will come!" and the Pastor driving the new Avalanche seems to think so, after all the 'church' needs a flat screen TV. Or maybe it is some 'hidden' sin in your life that you have to seek out that way you can get back on track! We just need to surrender more to God, give it all to Him!! Those are the shallow answers for shallow driven lives.
The reality is, is we were not promised good lives and nowhere in the Bible is a new car promised or a job promotion handed out for following Christ. What are we promised, hmm lets see, Matt. 10, Jesus promises persecution, the book of James starts off by talking about suffering. If I remember right, Jesus Christ did not tell his followers that while he has nowhere to lay his head they need to think positive for that nice suite at the Hilton. So, no riches, no health, no Hummers..... What do we get.... GOD!!!!
Christ gives us the most amazing promise, He says that we can have a relationship with Him, and walk with God, like Adam did in the garden!! We who so often chase after the gift rather than the giver and for that deserve Hell, torment, pain, death-receive Heaven, joy, bliss, life. Paul in the book of Romans tells us that the suffering that we WILL have here on Earth will be nothing compared with Heaven and seeing God face to face. But Jesus our Master suffered and was hated, so what makes us His followers think we will have it any easier??
So when cancer comes or a 28-1 run by the opponent, do we sit and despair cause we are hurting, no we seek joy in God through Christ. Basketball becomes just a game, and cancer becomes just a moment of suffering before an eternity of joy before our King on His throne.