Knowing the end result makes all the difference.
When I was a kid in Denver, we had mass in our house each Sunday. We weren’t Catholic. My family massed around the television to drink the Orange Crush-flavored Kool-Aid of the early 1980’s Denver Broncos. As they fought for every inch of football glory, we took it seriously. If you happened to be the one to walk in the room and the Broncos fumbled or threw an interception, you were asked (not politely) to leave the room until something good happened. After many cold winters of missing the playoffs, something great happened.
John Elway became a Bronco.
Soon, we witnessed victories snatched out of the hands of opponents by our new rifle-armed Houdini and the playoffs became a regular occurrence. And although my family moved to the land of Cowboys, our Bronco loyalty stood firm as we waited for them to reach the Super Bowl.
Finally, one miracle Sunday “Drive” took Bronco fans to the edge of football’s Promised Land. When the Broncos led at halftime of Super Bowl XXI, I was certain our football-slinging quarterback would slay the football Giants. However, the Broncos stunk it up the second half and lost a lop-sided game in one of the worst Super Bowl losses at the time. But, with Elway just getting started in his career, I knew the Broncos would return to the Super Bowl.
They returned two times in the 80’s and were blown out each time. I remember enforcing the old family rule on myself during those blowouts and removed myself from the room in fear that I was making them lose by watching. For me, the Broncos soon became synonymous with disappointment. Even John Elway, the Comeback King, couldn’t fix it.
This past Easter, I was reminded how Jesus received a lot of fanfare entering into Jerusalem the week of Passover. He did amazing things in the sight of people. He spoke of the victory that would occur through him. People waiting for their king to deliver them could sense the Promised Land was near.
Still, when He didn’t appear as the king most expected him to be, their disappointment caused them to doubt and turn on the very one who would make salvation possible for them.
If you don’t know the game plan, Jesus came to this earth, lived a perfect life, died on a cross, and rose again so that we could be reconciled to God. We can claim victory over death and sin by believing this as truth. He promised to return one day and make right all that is wrong.
Though we don’t know the day of His return, the victory is already ours through Jesus. Faced with the wrongs of today, including our own sins, we can remind ourselves of the champion we have in Jesus through his death and resurrection.
Little did I know almost a decade later, on the second date with my then-to-be wife Jessica, I would witness the Broncos finally win the Super Bowl. And, little did I know Jessica would root for the Packers that day (I’m glad everything ended up working out).
Bronco fans’ football joy was complete again the following year by winning the Super Bowl in convincing fashion and John Elway retired on top of the football mountain. I remember thinking of all the wringing of my hands during those superstitious Sundays that could have been avoided if I had known the certainty of the outcome years later. I’m sure my family would have enjoyed those games a lot more.
Whatever you face today, we have the certainty of Jesus’ promised return and our inclusion in the celebration when he does return. Knowing the joy to come can free us from doubts today.
Enjoy that freedom, encouraged that the true King of Comebacks will never retire and that victory through him is always possible.