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Can You Handle This?

This past weekend one of Omaha’s premier boys’ basketball teams had their quest for a State Championship end with great disappointment.

They went into the game very evenly matched with their opponent, but were thrown off course when two of their key players came down with a flu bug before the game. The result was a narrow loss and an abrupt ending to a terrific season.

Like this team, many others will have their seasons and careers ended as the boys and girls’ state basketball tournaments are on the brink. Sadly, when most of these teams bow out of the tournament you will witness athletes with all their hope in life come crashing down before the eyes of the spectators. Athletes often fall into the pit of putting their hope in sports, rather than in that which is lasting and worthwhile; the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Disappointments in sports are nothing new. In fact, I would venture to say that a surprising number of people in the sports world live a life of depression due to their lack of worldly success. This weekend alone you will see basketball players turn the ball over, miss shots, get beat on defense, get yelled at by a Coach, get hurt, or come up short on the scoreboard just to name a few. The test: how will they respond?

In reality, there are only two ways to respond. Athletes, coaches, and fans will either respond with anger or sadness (man’s way), or they will respond as the apostle Paul did during his imprisonment as written in Colossians 1:24 when he says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings.” Realizing that God is sovereign should remind us that God is in control of every situation- including the outcome of the State Basketball Tournament this weekend. The audience in which the athlete is playing for will be revealed. Each of us should ask for the same revelation. Is Christ truly the hope of your life? 1 John 1:4, says, “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” Does the reality of the gospel make your joy complete? How can’t it? We are sinners, deserving the wrath of God but through the blood of Christ we are made clean and allowed to have fellowship with God. That alone is enough to give us joy no matter the circumstance.

So can you handle this? Can you handle the disappointments that life WILL hand you? The answer is no if you are acting on your own accord. However, if you are operating in light of the gospel, then Christ has already handled this. The reason for pure, unending, eternal joy has already been accomplished! Will you make it a point today (and everyday) to live with this joy as a reality in your life?

Brian Conklin
Omaha-Metro FCA Director

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