Never Out of the Game
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“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NASB)
In 1993, the Buffalo Bills played the Houston Oilers in the wildcard game of the American Football Conference playoffs. Minutes into the third quarter, the Bills were down 35 to 3. Slowly the seats cleared in Rich Stadium, Buffalo, New York, as disappointed Bills fans had given up and were heading home. Next, the unlikeliest of events occurred. In less than a quarter of gameplay, the Bills scored four straight touchdowns. In what remains the greatest comeback in NFL history, the Bills ended up winning in overtime, 41 to 38. Hearing of the Bills mounting comeback over the radio, hundreds of fans who had earlier left the game decided to return, climbing the stadium fences in time to see the closing minutes.
The Bills never gave up. A chief reason, for what has gone down in football legend as “The Comeback,” was the play of backup quarterback Frank Reich who threw for four touchdowns. Although a lesser-known fact, Reich also holds the record for the greatest comeback in college football. In 1984, he overcame a 31-point deficit in a win for the Maryland Terrapins.
Growing up a Bills fan, I’ll never forget “The Comeback.” Today, it’s not only football fans who are inspired by this iconic 1993 game. Hailed by some as the “comeback king” of football, Frank Reich is a dedicated believer and motivational speaker. He uses the legacy of his giant sports comebacks as keynotes in his speeches, giving God credit for his victories.
God has used the story of Reich’s come from behind wins on the playing field to inspire others to have faith and not lose heart (). Reich’s life and message taps into a profound truth lying at the heart of the Christian faith—with God on our side, we’re never out of the game.
Even though sometimes it seems we’re slipping or losing ground, with Jesus, defeat is never the end of the story. Despite our disappointments in life—be it a bad half of play in a sporting game or a missed opportunity in our home life, church, or the workplace—we needn’t lose hope. In fact, we have every reason to press forward and mount our own comeback when it seems everything is at a loss. When we glance at the scoreboard of life and think the game is over—it isn’t. The tomb is empty. He has risen. The only one defeated in this game is death. The eyes of faith always look ahead to a comeback win, as the love of Jesus overcomes every deficit.
Lord, help us to look ahead to what’s in store for us this day—new opportunity and new hope. You never gave up on us, yet you gave unto us your only Son.
Copyright © Paul J. Palma, used with permission.
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