Cowboys and the King
The natives have officially abandoned all hope in Cowboys land. Two losses to teams we expected to defeat easily will do that to a fan base. Someone said after yesterday’s game that if our team wants to go to this year’s Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium, at least they’ll have good seats.
By contrast, our baseball team appears to have wrapped up its first division title since the Hoover administration. For the first time in memory, fans will be pleasantly surprised when the Cowboys win a regular season game and grieve if the Rangers lose in the playoffs.
I’m not writing a sports column this morning. For all I know, the Cowboys will win their next 14 games and play in the Super Bowl while the Rangers lose their next 14 and miss the playoffs. My point is more reflective: hope is a strange thing. Decide that your team has no chance to succeed and you won’t be so upset when they lose. Dare to believe that they could win a championship and you’ll be crushed if they don’t.
Why is this a devotional thought? Because in this case, sports mirrors life. You’ve lived long enough to be deeply wounded by someone you thought you could trust. It is easier to abandon hope and stop believing than to keep getting hurt. A pessimist is never disappointed, as the saying goes.
Except that discouragement is usually a self-fulfilling prophecy. Decide that you can’t trust your friends, and they won’t be your friends for long. Determine that you can’t trust God to answer your prayers and meet your needs, and you’ll stop accepting what his grace wants to give.
The good news is that the King is still on his throne, no matter what I think of the way he rules his realm. My beliefs regarding his character do not change his nature. His word promises that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), whether I believe that he loves me or not. Scripture declares that my Father forgives every sin I confess to him (1 John 1:9), whether I believe I have been forgiven or not. As C. S. Lewis pointed out, the man who denies the sunrise doesn’t harm the sun.
All day today, you and I will decide: is our Father really the omnipotent, omniscient God the Bible describes him to be? Is he really working through all things for our good (Romans 8:28), no matter what the evidence seems to say? Is he really with us to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20), no matter how lonely we feel? Are we really in his hand (John 10:28), no matter how vulnerable we seem to be?
We can abandon hope in him when the inevitable losses of life find us. Or we can make him our King this morning, no matter what comes our way. Scripture invites us to choose the latter: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Don’t give up on the One who never gives up on you.