There’s something thrilling about celebrating incredible accomplishments. This past weekend, there were two opportunities for such festivities.
America’s Independence Day. And the U.S. winning the Women’s World Cup.
I’m a proud patriot and an admitted soccer fanatic. I tease my husband about watching whatever sport happens to be on, but I love a good soccer game.
The Americans had saved their best effort for last.
Admittedly, they struggled through the first several games. Not looking sure of themselves. Hesitant when the fans were looking for heroes.
When it needed to happen, the U.S. got game. They played with passion and fire, scoring the first four goals of this final game in twenty minutes. They came together as a team, working in unison. Better together than any single individual on the team.
I love a great game.
Especially when my team wins.
I wasn’t so euphoric four years ago. I sat with a bunch of friends watching the final game of the 2011 Women’s World Cup. A nail biter of a game. Against Japan. We’d lead, they’d tie it up.
After 90 minutes of regulation play and 30 minutes of overtime, the result was left to penalty kicks.
And we lost.
There wasn’t celebration then. It was a sense of defeat that felt personal. We all just stared at the Japanese celebrating their victory. The Americans looked stunned.
I love to win. Most people don’t go into a competition thinking it would be fun to lose. Dale Earnhardt once said, “Second place is just the first place loser.” Part of our human condition is loving coming out on top.
The idea behind a competition, however, is that someone wins. Someone else loses. We might feel sorry for the losers. But we don’t want to be them. Cheering for the underdogs is heroic–if they win.
Nobody wins all the time. Some people never win. There are those who would like to see everybody be a winner. In the movie, Parental Guidance, Billy Crystal argues with parents at a baseball game because there are unlimited outs. No one really wins. They want their kids to feel good about themselves, not experience defeat.
That isn’t life. Things don’t work out fairly. People lose. All the time.
God gave that to us when He offered His Son to die in our place.
“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life in in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” I John 5:11-12
God offers us the assurance of eternal life in heaven. If we know His Son, Jesus, He provides forgiveness for the wrongs we do. And a promised place in heaven.
A guaranteed win.
Can you imagine entering a competition with the absolute assurance you’d win the prize? I’d enter without hesitation. With a lot of hope.
That would be a whole lot better than sweating through possible results.
Ask the American women’s soccer team how much pressured they’d have felt if they knew they’d win.