The final game of the series of games which they call The World Series of the 2016 baseball season wasn’t just another game. Especially if you were a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, which I had become after meeting my Chicago native husband 40 years ago (the Bicentennial Year).
Probably like a lot of other people, by the time we reached the bottom of the ninth inning — when the score was tied — I was holding my breath, feeling that sense of vulnerability of being totally not-in-control of the situation. If Cleveland had scored, then Chicago would have had no more at bats and that would be it. Over. Finished. Dreams and hopes dashed.
As I heard so many times on the Wide World of Sports, as I was growing up: someone would experience the thrill of victory while someone else would know the agony of defeat!
And then it went to the tenth inning. Cubs scored. Indians were up to bat with two outs and no runs scored. Tension was high. It could have gone either way. But it didn’t. Cleveland hit the ball. Bryant got it and threw it to Rizzo at first in time to get the batter OUT!
Suddenly all of the emotions and physical energy which had been focused on getting to that point — as they like to say, for 108 years — burst forth and all pandemonium broke out. One moment we were in suspense — wanting to get it over with but not wanting to be disappointed. And the next: Joy unspeakable. It was an unimaginable experience. Unbelievable.
Adding to the magic of the moment was the incredible awareness of a community of people who had gone through this together — including those who were no longer alive to see it with their own eyes. Shared dreams and commitment to keep on moving toward the goal — not willing to give up. Bonded together by a confident faith in the team’s abilities, in the organization’s vision and resources, cheered on by countless hopeful fans.
What would have happened if that tenth inning had gone the other way? Well, there were 108 years of picking up the pieces and coming back another time. So, despite disappointment, I don’t think that there would have been devastation and despair.
Which reminds me of what I was thinking the other day about how there might be some comparison (certainly but a little and not implying anything negative about the Cleveland team) to how it will be for the Church someday when Jesus comes back triumphantly and both those alive and the dead will rise together with Him and all those who have gone before will be together and jumping for unbelievable joy in an unending celebration of everlasting peace and victory for the Lamb that was slain will be the Lion that reigns. Forever and ever. And all those years of sorrow and sighing will flee away.
2 Corinthians 4:8-12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.
So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 51:11
Baba Yetu, The Lord’s Prayer in Swahili (Civilization IV)
I Can Only Imagine (Mercy Me)
This is the mystery. . .