I’m sitting up early Monday morning when I should long be asleep reflecting on the amazing comeback the Packers made against the Bears tonight. I’m not up because somehow I’m so upset that I can’t sleep, more up because my face in burning from taking off the green and gold make-up I wore tonight as the last payout of Mission Madness from the spring (I wish I was joking or being factitious about the burning, but I’m not).
As I thought about the game, I thought of my wonderful host Kevin Bird and how at halftime he thought the sky was falling and the game was over, even though I said that if Rodgers came back the Packers would win (which was true. There were witnesses). I knew exactly how Kevin felt as not only was I predicting the Bears to lose despite a 20 point lead, but that I do that with all my sports teams. I assume the worst case scenario. In the past 24 hours I’ve declared the Cubs season over, the Northwestern Wildcats the worst team in Big Ten football, predicted a Bears loss, and figure that my next time out golfing I will play awful. I’m a pessimist in this regard and I have to admit that it is starting to bother me.
Why do I always assume the worst? I don’t do that when I think about other people or situations. I usually take the more positive angle, even the naïve one. I assume that everything will work out for the best. But when it comes to my sports teams? Never. Even worse, I don’t do it really well with myself. I assume the sermon sucks, the presentation was bad, the Bible Study or confirmation less boring and uninspiring. I feel like I’m always making the wrong choice and doing the wrong thing. Why do I do that? I wish I could explain it. I’m a paradox, believing the best in others and the worst in myself.
This bothers me because I believe in a God of resurrection (and I’m not talking about Aaron Rodgers coming back from injury to beat the Bears). I believe in a Savior who has risen from the dead. I believe in a savior who told a girl to rise and a friend to come out from a tomb. I believe in a Lord who heals the broken, lifts up the lowly, gives strength to the weak. I believe in a God that offers love and forgiveness to all who call on his name, not matter what. I believe in a Lord that tells parables of lost sheep being found and prodigal sons returning. I believe in hope and resurrection.
Yet, I struggle to believe it in myself and I project that struggle onto my sports teams. We so often see the worst in ourselves and in others. We look at the world and think it is going to pot and that somehow yesterday was better than today, forgetting that yesterday had just as many problems and issues as today does. We so often see the darkness instead of the light, the terrible outcome instead of the positive one, the despair instead of hope.
My prayer for myself is that I might take the positive attitude and lens that I view others and apply it to myself. To fret and worry less and trust in that promise of resurrection. I hope you will pray for me in that regard. And in turn, I will pray that if you struggle with seeing only the darkness instead of the light or if you keep diving deep into despair instead of grasping onto hope, that you might see the resurrected Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is your resurrection and life. I will pray that your heart would be filled with hope, joy, and new life, that you will see the blessings and not the curses, the joys and not the sorrows, the resurrection and not the death. I pray that we all can see that we can comeback from any deficit, no matter the score, because Jesus Christ is our Savior. And lastly, I pray that my face stops burning!
This week, live as people of hope and resurrection. For as it says in Psalm 30, “You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.”