Year of the Comeback
I love sports. I love underdogs. I love a good comeback story.
On January 3, 1993, all three of those “loves” combined to form one of the greatest sports moments I have witnessed in my short life. The then Houston Oilers were playing the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card NFL playoff game. This is a game that is dubbed “The Comeback”.
The Oilers Bubba McDowell intercepted a pass at the beginning of the third quarter to stretch the lead to 32 points over the Buffalo Bills. With the score at 35-3, Houston fans were packing up, heading home, and turning off their TV screens. This game was virtually over. Not only were the Bills down by a seemingly insurmountable margin of points, but they were also having to play without their hall of fame quarterback Jim Kelly who was injured in the previous game. My best friend James was a huge Oilers fan, and he was loving it, so we left our TV screens on. I am glad we did. A quarter and a half later, the Bills were miraculously tied heading into overtime. The Oilers got the ball and began their drive. After a couple of quick completions, Houston’s star quarterback, Warren Moon, threw an ill-fated interception which led to a Buffalo Bills game-winning field goal.
The Bills head coach Marv Levy addressed his deflated team at halftime. “You've got thirty more minutes. Maybe it's the last thirty minutes of your season. When your season's over, you're going to have to live with yourselves and look yourselves in the eyes. You'd well better have reason to feel good about yourselves, regardless of how this game turns out." I love a coach who never quits! He could have come in at halftime and just threw in the towel, but he kept coaching, kept digging, and his players kept playing.
The Bills kept fighting until they came out on top and will forever be remembered for that game. What a comeback!
WE ARE DOWN IN THE THIRD QUARTER
2020 was simply rough. A global pandemic, social distancing, wide-spread job loss, social unrest, digital schooling, increased rates of divorce, 100,000 babies aborted, rampant divisiveness, and just a seemingly constant feeling of anxiety and stress. Not to mention the unending spiritual darkness led by Satan and his minions. We are in the third quarter, down by a seemingly insurmountable margin of issues. Tired, frustrated, anxious, afraid, and angry. The world seems extra dark, depraved, and bent on destroying us.
What are we going to do? Quit? Throw in the towel?
As followers of Christ, there is only one option … we keep digging and we overcome. It is who were are!
2021 IS GOING TO BE THE YEAR OF THE COMEBACK
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? – 1 John 5:4-5
I have some great news for you brothers and sisters in the Lord. Things may look bleak and dark, but God is not scared of the dark! God sent His son, Jesus, to penetrate the darkness and the darkness has no power over Him.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:4-5
This does not mean that 2021 will not have all the same issues. COVID, distancing, abortion, unrest, likely will all remain, but we know as followers of Christ that we do not face these issues alone and we have been given glorious promises of victory.
As writer Marshall Segal reminds us, “And because this Jesus, your Jesus, conquered the darkness, you too can overcome the darkness in this world.” The apostle John writes, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome [the worst in the world], for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Jesus says, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Do you believe him? Even as you watch the stream of discouraging and depressing news in our nation and from around the world? Even when you stare at the trials and suffering in your life? Your God has overcome this world. And in his name, you have overcome this world. “Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.” (Segal)
God is not afraid of the darkness in the world and the darkness of sin! He has overcome and we overcome by His power. We are going to make it. We are not going to be defeated. We are going to keep moving ahead.
Jesus commanded us not to be defeated and discouraged. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” – John 14:1. He already knew when He uttered those words to His original disciples what they would face after He was gone. He knew they would experience trial, difficulty, and persecution. God already knew 2020 would be the year it has been, and he commands us to “not let our hearts be troubled.” In other words, “Don’t let your hearts be ruled by what you see. Let them be ruled by what I promise you.” And that’s what he’s saying to you and me too. (Jon Bloom)
Pick your heads up.
Pick your hearts up.
IT IS COMEBACK TIME.
It is time to come back to spending consistent time in the Word of God.
It is time to come back to an intimate relationship with Jesus.
It is time to come back to daily and intentional prayer.
It is time to come back to church, together, under one roof, and in-person.
It is time to come back to being a “Go & Tell” Great Commission body of believers.
I don’t care what your last 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 weeks, or 5 months have been like, BUT NOW IS THE TIME TO COME BACK AND SERVE THE LORD.
With the halftime words of the Buffalo Bills coach in mind, “When your season's over, you're going to have to live with yourselves and look yourselves in the eyes.” There will be a day where we all stand before our Lord Jesus and we long, like Paul, to hear him say “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)
WHAT IS YOUR GAME PLAN?
BIBLE READING PLAN
Check out these ideas from Tim Challies at https://www.challies.com/resources/the-bible-reading-plan-i-recommend-for-2021/
COME BACK TO CHURCH
We have four in-person services that are unbelievably safe and worshipful. FBCW safety protocols are second to none. Register for a service today at https://www.visitfbcw.org/serviceregistration
Sunday - 8:20 AM, 9:55 AM, 11:30 AM. (Inside).
Wednesday - 6:30 PM (Inside)