Monday, November 19, 2007

The Agony of Defeat and the Thrill of Victory

Did you see what happened in the Browns-Ravens game yesterday? Cleveland, down by 3, lined up for a 51 yard field goal attempt that would tie the game with no time left. The kicker kicked the ball and watched it bounce off the upright and seemingly off the crossbar back into the field of play. One official signalled "No good." Game over. The teams began walking out onto the field. The Cleveland coach was comforting the kicker. Some of the Ravens players went on into the locker room. The Baltimore radio announcers were celebrating an important Ravens victory. All the while, the officials huddled together talking. A few minutes later, the head referee announced that the officials had determined that the ball had bounced not off the cross bar but off the support behind the cross bar. Video replay actually confirmed this decision. The game was tied. The Browns went on to win the game in overtime.

Talk about life changing in a moment. The image I haven't been able to get out of mind is that of the Cleveland coach comforting the kicker who thought he had missed the kick. You can't take back comfort, even if it is not needed. I am sure that the kicker felt a lot better to learn he had actually made the kick. However, I'd like to think the coach's words and actions bridged the gap until things worked out. I wonder, how many times does God comfort us, knowing that He will ultimately work all things for the good (Romans 8:28)? It would be easy for God to just say, "Hey, don't worry, it will be alright." But those are not really words of comfort. God promises comfort, comfort that carries us through until we can see how he works for our good.

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