photo courtesy of Rhett Lewis on Unsplash
Every four years people from all over the world turn away from the challenges of everyday living, personal opposition, and possibly pain, to watch a game that everyone sees as the beautiful game.
Maybe not so much in America, where football is played with an oblong ball rather than a round one.
The World Cup now being played in Qatar has captured the world’s attention for a brief time. Even those whose countries didn’t make it into the field of 32 teams are fascinated by the games. Everyone would love the chance to win and make their mark on the world of soccer, even if they’re a Cinderella team. There are those Goliath teams who have been favorites for decades–Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Italy have each won multiple times.
The beauty of soccer is that any team can beat any other team on any given day.
That has been the case this World Cup. Saudi Arabia beat Argentina in a shocking upset. The US tied England. Tunisia tied Denmark. Japan had an unforeseen win over Germany. Unexpected surprises.
It’s a toss-up as to who will win the trophy.
We all want a chance to win the gold. There’s the awareness that life isn’t fair; there will always be those who have obvious advantages over others. Those who have a head start over others playing the same game.
It doesn’t deter us from desiring to be better, do better, and have better.
Inevitably, we will experience failure. It may not be on the world stage, but we will continue to make mistakes. Some of which will be miserable.
Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, understood what it meant to do it right and then mess up completely. Peter was the outspoken one of the bunch, the one who consistently understood who Jesus was–the Son of God. He never questioned the truth Jesus spoke.
When Jesus was drawing closer to His crucifixion, Peter stood up for his Lord.
“Peter said, ‘Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Peter, let Me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know Me.’” Luke 22:33-34
This was a massive mistake that made Peter feel less than, like everything he’d worked toward meant nothing.
Failure can feel fatal.
Though Peter believed his failure had ended his time with Jesus, he was fully and freely forgiven. Peter humbled himself before his Lord and went on to become one of the most outspoken apostles of Jesus.
Losing the World Cup won’t be the end of the world. Countries will double down and try harder for 2026.
Making mistakes in life, losing out on opportunities, and experiencing failure in things we attempt don’t define our worth. Rather, our mistakes make us aware of how much we need forgiveness and grace.
We need Jesus. He offers us both unlimited forgiveness and unending grace.
That’s a worthy trophy.
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