Yes, I am.
A hockey fan-addict.
And my team is the Los Angeles Kings.
Who just won the Stanley Cup, thank you very much.
Wanna hear a story? (Say yes…you're gonna hear it anyway).
My oldest son got into hockey about 20 years ago. He's always been a huge sports fan. Me too. Of course, like every child born in California, he started out playing soccer. I think it's a *right of passage* here. Like you can't grow up unless you've kicked the old white-and-black around for a few seasons.
We never really liked the game too much. (My sincere apologies to all you World Cup fans…). So, around 1st grade, my son started playing basketball. We loved watching the LA Lakers. Exciting, thrilling…FUN!
However, at some point, my son realized that he was never going to be tall enough to play competitively for long. (Sorry, my genes stopped at 5' 4"...)
So, hockey came to reign.
He started by playing roller hockey. We all loved the sport. It was rough, fast, and explosive. And, though we lived closer to the fan base of the Anaheim Ducks, we became furious fans of the LA Kings.
Fast-forward about 20 years…
Two seasons ago, I decided to buy my son season tickets for his 30th birthday. Two seats. I was lucky enough to be his game buddy most of the time, until he got married!! ☺
In case you're not a hockey fan, this season was an incredible ride. The Kings finished the regular season with the record for the least goals scored against them. And then they started the playoffs by losing three games in a row: 6-3, 7-2, and an OT killer 4-3. On the brink of elimination, they won four in a row to move on.
The rest is history. Incredible, exciting, heart-stopping history.
I had the privilege of going with my son to the 2nd game in the finals.
The game in which we were behind by 2 goals, three separate times. The game in which we finally won in a 2nd (!!) overtime. The longest (at the time) game in LA Kings history.
And you know, the whole experience just made me think.
I remember sitting in the arena – silent, anxious, hopeless, despairing – the game was lost, I kept thinking. My son and I didn't speak for over an hour – we were so nervous. I know it's just a game, but still…
And then, that magic moment came about halfway through the second overtime. A lightning-quick goal, an eruption in the crowd – against all odds, we had WON!!!
There is something quite thrilling when over 18,000 people simultaneously jump to their feet in ecstatic cheering. There is something quite thrilling to be one of them!
I laughed, I cried, I hugged my son. I high-fived tons of surrounding strangers. United in near defeat, we were now united in sweet victory.
Now, I am always thinking in spiritual terms, you know.
So, this whole experience made me ponder another moment of seeming defeat – The Cross.
I can only imagine the deep despair of Christ's followers, the ones who had had such high hopes. The ones who watched victory slip out of their hands. Did they whisper amongst themselves, "Wasn't it less than a week ago that He was being praised as our king? What happened??"
I can imagine their faces – silent, anxious, hopeless, despairing – as they watched, helplessly watched, their Jesus die.
There was no cheering, no cheer, among the many followers of Jesus that day.
There might have been some cheering and high-fives among the followers of the enemy, however. I'm sure they were quite pleased to have defeated their opponent, and in such a demolishing and demoralizing way.
End of story, right?
There's a sort of motto in sports – "It's never over until it's over." I learned that lesson well in this playoff season with the Kings.
And, a whole bunch of people also learned it when they saw the return of The King!
You see, when I was screaming like crazy at the Kings' win, I was also picturing the throngs of people, and angels, erupting in celebration when Jesus walked out of that tomb!!
Victory! Sudden and explosive victory!
Hugs and high-fives in Heaven!
Tears of joy on earth!
Against overwhelming odds, the lowly Man of Sorrows had overcome. He took the sting out of sin, and destroyed death.
Because of that day, there is another moment coming…
A moment when the *final* victory is won. When our enemy will be once-and-for-all defeated. When God will reign forever, and we will all be champions.
Can you imagine being part of the crowd that day?!
On that night in a sports arena in downtown Los Angeles, I did imagine that moment.
And understood that this awesome sports moment had given me a foretaste of something bigger and better that awaits.
A time of momentous victory.
A time when against all odds, against the seeming winning tide of sin in this world, against everything evil, against pain and suffering, against despair and hopelessness, there is coming a BIG OL' WIN!
You know, I think God gave me another insight into the deeper meaning of joy.
Joy can be found in knowing that there is coming a day when I will be sitting in a throng of multitudes, waiting for God to complete His purposes. Waiting for the culmination of history. Waiting for God to display His glory and win the victory for His children.
And then, I plan to erupt from my seat, hug and high-five strangers (who are no longer strangers, but dearly beloved saints!) – and cheer along with a throng of people who will now be united in sweet victory…forever!
Salvation has made us all season ticket-holders!!
And I am a Jesus fan-addict!
We are ALL champions in Him!
"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57, ESV)
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (Romans 8:37, ESV)
"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession..." (2 Corinthians 2:15, ESV)
"For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory." (Deuteronomy 20:4, ESV)
"'I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.'"
(John 16:33, ESV)
"He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him." (Colossians 2:15, ESV)
"The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son." (Revelation 21:7, ESV)
"Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2, ESV)
"Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance..." (Hebrews 9:15, ESV)
"'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.'" (Revelation 22:13, NLT)
In what area of your life do you desperately need a victory?
Linked today with:
SHARING HIS BEAUTY, UNFORCED RHYTHMS, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, SOLI DEO GLORIA, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, TITUS 2 TUESDAYS, UNITE, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, TELL HIS STORY, WINSOME WEDNESDAY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, FAITH BARISTA, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, THRIVING THURSDAY, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, WHATEVER IS LOVELY, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAY, THE FRIDAY FIVE, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, STILL SATURDAY, RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY, WEEKEND BREW, GIVE ME GRACE, SUNDAY STILLNESS
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