My husband is a Canadian hockey nut. We started hosting players for our local hockey team four years ago and it didn't take long for me to "catch the fever." Having the boys in our home is great fun and the games are that much more fun because we personally know several players on the team.
Well, our team just finished up a dream-come-true season! Best record in the regular season won them the Anderson Cup (right). Then after a very tough battle in the post-season tournament, they secured the coveted Clark Cup (left), the top honor for junior hockey.
I felt so happy for them that they persevered. They had been down two games in the "best of five" ... then in the third game, they were 49 seconds away from elimination when our top scorer tied it up, forcing overtime. The team gave it all they had until another of our boys finally sunk a goal in the third 20-minute overtime period. Exhausting, but exhilirating!
Game four was another struggle, and game five was the final fight. Our team came from behind twice in the deciding game, then sealed the deal as a crowd of more than 8,000 roared! What a thrill ride it has been for us to see them tenaciously hold on and fight for what they wanted! It felt so good to know they never gave up; they never let the goal out of their sight.
What a great example it was for me. It reminds me not to ever listen to the little voice that wants to tell me, "let it go... you'll never pull it off." But instead I will tell myself that "I will run in such a way as to get the prize." (1 Cor. 9:24 NIV)
Whatever game you love, I'll bet you can identify. It takes a great team of everyone giving their best for the team to reach their potential. I'm so glad each was willing to give their strengths for the greater good.
We each have a role that way, too. In our families, in our jobs, in our churches, in our lives. Are you giving your "full strength" every day? Are you "in strict training" for the things that really matter? Can you persevere against the odds; hold on by a thread for the promise of victory?
Our boys can tell you that winning is oh-so-sweet, and worth every bit of sweat and grit they put into it! As the coach said, "Fifty years from now you will still have a bond with your teammates because of what you worked for."
So true. And as big as that game was, we're working hard for something so much bigger! Our reward is much greater, there is no comparison! We make our bodies our slaves; we do it for a prize that will last forever! (1 Cor. 9:25-27 NIV)
Heavenly Father, give me the courage and strength to run in such a way as to get the prize. Renew me, day by day. Help me fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16, 18 NIV)