Last night I watched the Indiana-Purdue basketball game. It is one of the most intense and heated rivalries in college basketball.
They have played 203 times since 1901. The rivalry even has its own Wikepedia page describing notable disputes, technical fouls, ejection of coaches, overtime games and of course, the famous Bob Knight chair-throwing incident that happened 31 years ago today.
Last night I watched the #22 ranked Hoosiers match up with the #17 ranked Boilermakers with complete confidence that Indiana would win the game.
Assembly Hall was packed. And the crowd was pumped. And raucous. The game was close in the beginning, but I was totally confident in an IU win.
Although the Boilers finished the first half strong, I knew IU wouldn’t lose. And even after Purdue mounted a furious comeback from 19 down in the second half to close within 2 points with under a minute to go, I was unfazed. I had no doubt the Hoosiers would win. In fact, I was convinced IU would score again and stop Purdue on the final possession. I was relaxed. Assured. And positive.
Why? Why was I so certain of an IU win? It wasn’t just because I’m a fan and believed in my team.
The answer is simple. The game was played Saturday night. I was watching a recording. I already knew the outcome and the final score.
After watching, it reminded me of the confidence we Christians can have in our faith.
We live in a world filled with lawlessness. Ungodliness. And moral perversion. There are dire predictions of economic collapse. The concern over the erosion of our freedom. The foreboding feeling that Christians may endure future persecution. And the ever-present threat of nuclear war.
It seems that the devil has the upper hand. Evil is everywhere. And that wickedness has won the day.
Yet, Christians need not worry. We can be confident. Assured. Steady. And calm in world filled with crises.
We know who’s going to win.
The last book of the Bible, Revelation, using figurative language, describes a spiritual war between the forces of good and evil. It is an eternal struggle between wickedness and righteousness. It is an intense drama pitting the devil against God.
As the book unfolds the devil wins some battles, but he never wins the war. In fact, the books closes with the imagery of Jesus riding on the white horse leading us to victory (Rev. 19).
In the end the devil is defeated. Cast into a lake of fire. Along with his cohorts (Rev. 20:7-10).
The Disciples of Christ triumph. Inherit heaven. And enjoy eternal bliss around the throne of God. They bask in victory in “The New Jerusalem” where there is no sickness. No pain. No tears. No worry. No sin. And no death. (Rev. 21-22)
We know the outcome. We can see the final score. We can live in this tumultuous world with supreme confidence. Personal peace. Unwavering hope. And anticipation of eternal reward.
Like the apostle Paul we know, “in whom we have believed.” We enjoy confidence in Christ. With faith we see the invisible, believe the incredible, and know we will receive, what seems to others, the impossible.
And with the great apostle we can approach the struggles of life and the worries of the world with assurance of the outcome.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman