Here in New Zealand we are in the midst of Rugby World Cup fever. Go the mighty all Blacks!! Unfortunately our best player, Dan Carter, was cruelly cut down by injury before the knockout stages. We managed to avoid national panic by winning the next game, but it’s fair to say that the nation is a little tense right now, especially since our next game is against the arch-enemy – Australia!
The reality is we may not win: we may get outplayed or play below our potential. Dan’s replacement may freak out on the big stage and have a shocker. Our deep desire in NZ is that our boys win, and they possibly will, but the reality of sport is that someone loses and it may be us.
Reality has to be dealt with. It can’t be escaped, even though many of us have made an art form out of trying! Sadly, if we lose the rugby, some will take out their anger on their wives or partners (there is always a spike in domestic violence when the All Blacks lose), others will drown their sorrows in alcohol, others will destroy property or get into fights. But none of that will be about rugby. It will be about brokenness. It will be about not having the internal resources to deal with life on life’s terms. Reality does not come in fancy packages. It comes with grief, pain and confusion along with joy, laughter and happiness. I’ve known all of these things and I’m sure you have too.
In the end it comes down to those old Christian words, faith and trust. Faith that in Christ I am the beloved son/daughter, I am forgiven and free, saved and Spirit-filled. In other words, in faith I believe I have what it takes because Jesus has what it takes. He has overcome the enemy so in him we have overcome the enemy. He promises life in all its fullness so we hang onto him for dear life! We also trust in his character. We put our trust in the goodness of God, in his love, in his good intentions. We can’t always make sense of what God is up to but it makes more sense when we trust in his goodness towards us.
Cynicism in the face of harsh reality is the easy choice. Faith comes tougher. Faith means taking our eyes off our circumstances and lifting them to heaven where we meet the crucified and risen Christ; our hope, our deliverer, our Lord and King, the Lover of our souls. In faith we face reality in the name of Jesus. We grieve in his name, rejoice in his name, deal with injustice in his name, cry out in his name. He is with us, for us and in us through his Spirit. So, have faith, trust God and go the mighty All Blacks!