My older sister, Eleanor, loves hockey. Love becomes passion when Team Canada is playing, and when they are playing against the Americans, well, let’s just say, it goes to a whole new level. Imagine her delight during the recent Olympic Games in Sochi, when she was able to experience Canada vs. USA in both men’s and women’s hockey. To her great consternation, she was unable to watch the women’s gold medal game live due to her shift work as a nurse. Passion such as this is not easily deterred, however, and she was determined to live the excitement of the game as if it were in real time. Having set her PVR to record the game, she zealously avoided all media outlets, not wanting to learn the score by mistake.
The time came for her to watch the game, and she sat down to do so with relish. Her husband had been forewarned not to share even one trivial fact about the game with her, and so though he knew the outcome of the game, he also knew to keep it to himself. She began to watch the game with excitement and anticipation. She was confident in her team and their undefeated record, and though they were playing their arch-rivals, the Americans, she relished the victory before the first puck was dropped.
To her horror, the third period began to wind down with the Canadians trailing the Americans by two goals. She turned to her husband, indignant that he would just sit there in silence all the while knowing her team was to be defeated. Being the gracious man that he is, he smiled, and told her to watch the game. As her anxiety built, her pestering grew more relentless. Undaunted, he refused to share the outcome with her, and encouraged her to watch it play out.
When the Canadians scored with about three minutes left in the period, hope flickered. When they tied it up in the dying minutes of the period, hope burned. She was elated. It wasn’t over yet, time still remained for Canada to snatch the victory: Overtime! Waiting for overtime to begin, her elation began to deflate somewhat as she considered the alternatives. Suddenly, she wasn’t sure which would be the worse outcome, to have lost 2-0 at the end of the third, never having had hope, or to lose now in overtime, having tasted the potential for victory. She begged her husband Wade to tell her the outcome. Again, he refused.
The agony of anticipation. The battle between hope and despair. And then it happened – we scored! It was over – and good had won! (;P)
Eleanor relayed all this drama to me over the phone, wondering how I had survived the suspense. Well, though I do enjoy hockey, especially games against our biggest rival, I had overheard the score while quickly picking up some food essentials at Safeway. Therefore, my emotional experience with the game was much different than hers. While she watched the close parts, sick, nervous, worried, and unsure, even despairing of the victory; I watched the game with calm confidence. I enjoyed the close moments. I did not lose heart when our opponents appeared to have the upper hand. I relished the anticipation of what was to come, because I knew how it all ended.
Our life in the body of Christ is sort of like watching that game on PVR knowing the outcome. It might look like we are down and out; it might seem like hope is lost. It may seem to be a nail-biter, and the outcome unsure; but it’s not! We know the outcome. The Lamb that was slain is the conquering King. No matter how things look here and now, if we are in Christ, we are going to be wearing white robes standing before the throne and the Lamb, with victor’s crowns.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-5)
“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:17, 20)