My favorite sport is rugby. It’s been around for more than one hundred years, but it’s only now becoming popular in the US.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the game, it’s kind of a cross between American football, basketball, with a hint of soccer. Lots of running, tossing of a ball, with some pushing, shoving and tackling. To top it all off, it’s played without safety gear!
Unfortunately I’m not allowed to play. It’s not that I’m old and feeble, I’m just so good at the game that I’ve been banned from the sport in 43 countries.
Like in other sports, you don’t find rugby players giving up partway through the game. When a figure skater falls to the ice, she picks herself up, smiles, and continues her routine. When the lip of a boxer splits, the boxer stays in the ring and keeps on fighting. When a curler . . . okay, curling isn’t a real sport. Sorry Canada. Real athletes don’t quit. They finish the competition and maybe retire, but they don’t quit.
Life is full of hard knocks, split lips, hurt feelings, and high mountains to cross. We all face tough times. The woman diagnosed with cancer still gets up every morning and fights the pain of the day. The unemployed man with a crying baby in the next room hits the street looking for a job until he finds one. The teenager whose father is verbally abusive after a night of drinking still gets up and goes to school. We fight through the difficulties because we know that something worthwhile is beyond the trial. Hope tells us that tomorrow will be better than today.
Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrew 12:2). He was beaten until His bones were visible through His flesh, His beard was pulled in chunks from His face, He was stripped naked and paraded through the streets, He was nailed to a cross. He continued to the very end for the joy set before Him. He knew that what He was doing would provide you and me with His gift of eternal salvation.
Today you may feel like you’re in the middle of a never-ending game of rugby. Put your faith in Jesus and set your eyes on the joy that lies ahead for you in Him.