I felt my stomach drop as the final seconds faded to black.
3, 2, 1.. 0.0
I've watched the Warriors all season. I live in Oakland. It's my town, my city, my home. I have been a fan since I remember. We had season tickets growing up for a few years. If my Dad and I weren't at the game, we would be watching it on our couch. We've seen a lot of ups and downs.
But this? This hurt.
Yeah, it hurt as a fan. But 90% of my hurt was for the players and staff. I sincerely felt pain for them - for all the work and sweat and effort it took to get to this point to only get this result! I can't imagine what Step and the team felt as they watched Lebron and the Cavs celebrate in their city, on their floor, in front of their fans.
Here's what I am getting at; LOSING IS PAINFUL.
It hurts - and rightfully so! If it didn't hurt, there probably wasn't a passion to win. If it didn't get under your skin, it probably wasn't in your heart. Losing is painful because losing is personal. But losing is also a BLESSING. Losing teaches us that winning isn't continuous. The streak always stops. The record is always beaten.
I'm thankful for situations like this, if only for the strong reminder it gives me.
As people who are saved by and follow after Jesus, this life has more to do with losing than we would like to admit. Don't believe me? Read the beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-11). Read through the book of Hebrews. Read through the story of Joseph, David, Abraham, Peter, Paul, Jesus. Their lives weren't marked by a shiny string of victories, but by adversity and setbacks, opposition and pain. But that's just the thing... For the Christian, losing is okay now because we win and gain everything later. That's the good news of Jesus - you are BLESSED when you are poor, for when you are poor, you are fit to have the Kingdom of God. You are BLESSED when you are hungry, for when you are hungry, you will find satisfaction in Christ. You are BLESSED when people hate you, for when you are hated, you can rejoice that there is a better reward in Heaven.
It's on every page of the Bible. God's people were always losing in some way, shape or form. Yes, they received blessings - but in the world's eyes - they were capital "L" losers. Shoot, even Jesus was seen as a loser, being put to death as a criminal. But that's just it! What seemed as losing to the world was winning for God - the death of Jesus was the pathway to the resurrection of Jesus. That is where our hope for LIFE comes from. We serve a God who chooses to lose in order to win and I love it!
That is the beauty of losing for the Christian, it isn't defining! Losing now is a part of life, a part of God's method of stripping us of the unnecessary so we can cling to the necessary. Let's be frank, Jesus had some interesting things to say to those who are constantly winning in this world and life (Luke 6:24-26). As I grow more and more with Jesus, I am more afraid of winning than losing. When I win in this life, I begin to think I don't need anything else. I become full. I get content. I don't look up nor ahead. BUT, when I lose; when things don't go my way, when people and circumstance stack up against me, THAT is when I see and savor Jesus for who He really is. That is when I snap back to reality and see how finite this life is and how infinite Jesus and His Kingdom is. Losing brings a necessary jolt of pain that wakes me up from the allure of winning in this world.
Christian, don't be afraid of losing in this life.
The world may say you are losing, but they aren't the ones defining the terms.
Real HOPE says you can lose now because you will gain everything later.