Sunday, July 28, 2013

What If We Knew We Already Won?

As a life-long Redskins fan I, along with every other member of Redskins nation, was thrilled to see our franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin III, tweet: "Doctors cleared me to practice." Looking ahead to the new football season will be a lot less stressful knowing we have RGIII back at full strength. Watching my Redskins play is nerve-racking enough even when our best players are healthy.

When I watch a Redskins game I'm on the edge of my seat. I live and die by every play. Even when the Skins are leading I can't let my guard down because I've seen us blow too many leads over the years. Watching our favorite teams play can be an exhausting experience for die hard fans. Things are totally different, however, when we already know the outcome of the game.

I have to work during most games on Sundays so I record them. Sometimes I'm able to make it home without finding out who won but sometimes I'm not. If I found out the Skins lost, I usually skip the game. Why frustrate myself even further? I watch the game when I found out they won, though. It's a whole different experience when I watch the game knowing my beloved Redskins have already won. When I know the Skins have won, I sit back and enjoy the show. It's a celebration. I soak in all the big runs, sacks, and touchdowns. I just enjoy it.

Not only do I savor the positive moments when I already know the outcome of the game but I also don't let the bad stretches bother me at all. When it's 3rd and goal, we fumble the snap, and the other team recovers the ball, I'm disappointed we couldn't capitalize on a great opportunity but it's not that big of a deal because I know we make up for it later. Now if that happens when I'm watching the game live, I'm freaking out! It's a big deal and now I'm worried we might have blown the game. My entire experience of watching the game is totally altered when I know the outcome ahead of time.

Life is a lot like that.

We worry about how things are going to turn out. Are we going to have enough money for school clothes and supplies? Can we afford a family vacation this year? Can we even continue to afford this mortgage? What news will the doctor give me at our next appointment? What will our healthcare look like next year? Jesus was right when he said, "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:34 ESV).

The daily troubles of life provide plenty of anxiety at times. On top of that, we have the troubles we're facing on a broader scale politically and culturally. I don't need to give you a list of the challenges. If you're reading this website, you already know. We're living in serious times and everywhere you look it seems things are getting worse. What's going to happen next? How's it all going to turn out? The Bible tells us that the servant of the prophet Elisha had a "what-are-we-gonna-do?!" experience too.

2 Kings 6 records an account of Syria at war with Israel. The King of Syria was upset because his troop movements and strategies continued to be exploited. He suspected a spy among his war council but they informed the king, "Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom." The King didn't like that at all so he ordered "horses and chariots and a great army" to go and seize the prophet. The next morning the servant of Elisha saw the enemy forces "all around the city." He panicked, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" Elisha responded with a life-altering truth we can take to heart today.

"He said, 'Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' Then Elisha prayed and said, 'O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.' So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." 

Elisha's servant was living and dying with each play of the game but Elisha already knew the outcome. Elisha knew the full reality of the moment. Who could have predicted the outcome of this battle? Read the passage and you'll see there was no battle at all. What began with an army invading with overwhelming force ended with: "And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel."

In the midst of the ups and downs of the life we don't have to live and die with each play. As we watch our nation change into something it was never meant to be, we don't need to be discouraged. We don't need to be consumed with worry. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them. We know the outcome of the "game" (Revelation 22:1-5). Continue to be faithful and leave the final outcome in the hands of God. We can approach things with an entirely different level of confidence when we know we've already won.

This article originally appeared at Clash Daily.

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