The Cleveland Browns won! Finally! After 635 days, this football team celebrated a victory. It’s amazing what one win can do to people who are waiting and waiting and waiting. The streets outside the stadium were packed with celebrating fans, social media went crazy, and the Bud Light beer fridges were opened. A good friend of mine is a lifelong Browns fan whose home was flooded by Hurricane Florence. Her celebratory posts were good news in the middle of all her city’s devastation.
This beleaguered football team persevered, didn’t it? The players kept showing up Sunday after Sunday (or Thursday or Monday) to play, knowing they were the butt of jokes. I mean, their stadium is nicknamed the Factory of Sadness, and fans sit with bags over their heads. Still, statistically speaking, the Browns had to win at some point. Right?
It’s easy to feel like the Browns, isn’t it? You feel constantly beat up as you weather defeat after defeat after defeat. When something even vaguely okay happens, it’s not actually all that great. (Kind of like when the Browns stopped the losing streak by simply tying the first game of the season. So even though they didn’t actually lose, they didn’t actually win.)
Maybe you’re going through marriage struggles and you wonder if it’s worth it. Your physical problems seem never ending. You hear one diagnosis after another, but you still feel miserable. Then there’s your job. You need the paycheck, but is it actually worth it to deal with your coworkers, your boss, your clients? Maybe your struggle is with addiction, and entering the rehab facility yet again feels like you’ve failed the people around you.
No matter what your personal struggle, statistically speaking for those who believe in Jesus, your victory is guaranteed. Jesus defeated the eternal Factory of Sadness to guarantee that you have a spot in the eternal Stadium of Joy. So if you never get a small win here or not, you still have hope. The choirs of angels are waiting to celebrate with you the same way this gospel choir celebrated the Browns’ win!
Plus, Jesus has the milk and honey fridges waiting.
P.S. I didn’t use a Bible passage in this blog because I wanted to save the best for last. I know it’s tempting to skim over passages sometimes (especially if you’re familiar with them). So I’m hoping that today you might slow down and really read the following words of encouragement God has for you. Your struggle has value and your victory is secure. And God really deserves to have the last word.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3-9).
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who actually picked the Browns to win at her work’s football pool. (No cash was exchanged.)
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