Last month I wrote about a little boy who maintained a countenance of joy and hope, even when met with constant defeat along the way. A boy who aspires to be a famous soccer player later in life but had yet to experience any soccer wins or game-time goals. A boy who wore a constant and contagious smile during loss and continued to press on against the odds to stay in the game. Today, his perseverance has paid off and he is walking in the promised victory that in some shape or form will one day greet us all.
Three seasons: Zero wins, zero goals. Yet constant joy and focus on the end goal just the same. I imagine after a year of defeat, many would have wanted to give up and few would have the gumption to believe for anything different. But Zechariah wouldn’t quit. And, as a result, he has stepped into a new season. One of victory and reward in exchange for the defeat he once knew.
Two recent games have brought two wins and seven total goals from this persistent player. He’s stepped into his promised land so-to-speak and is not looking back on the season behind. What I admire most is that he never stopped believing this season would come. Even though it seemed unlikely and maybe even impossible, he kept hoping and trusting and today is bearing the fruit. Maybe it will be short-lived and the rest of the season will be characterized by more loss. But he really doesn’t care. He is focused now more than ever on enjoying the journey and staying focused on the prize. How I long to do the same. Being able to do so has little to do with the present-reality and more about our current perspective. If we can see clearly and remained focused on the real prize that awaits, we will find the joy and peace that Christ came to give us. Otherwise, we stay focused on the apparent defeat and remain discouraged and trudging through life not awaiting promised victory, but instead anticipating with dread the next challenge or loss. That is not the place in which God wants us to dwell.
We recently celebrated the resurrection of Jesus and the abundant life we are promised as a result. When we are walking in discouragement and focusing on the darkness of current or past seasons, we can’t see clearly into the present-day blessing right in front of us. When Zechariah was met with repetitive defeat, he didn’t focus on the score of the game; he focused on how much he was enjoying the game and used the defeat as stepping stones taking him to future victory. No doubt we all experience seasons like this when it seems nothing is turning out the way we had hoped. But we can’t let our focus be there. We have received an immeasurable gift of life from the One who loves us more than words can describe, and He wants to use all seasons as stepping stones towards the victory He promises we will all one day step into if we keep our focus on Him.
Attitude and perspective. The willingness to see beyond present-day with hopeful anticipation of what is to come. Zechariah’s losing streak has been broken. And one day, ours will be too. Whether this side of heaven or the one to come, we will receive victory and if “we don’t lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
You may feel like you are losing the game today. But keep pressing on. When Jesus is your goal, you will see the prize. Stay encouraged and stay in the game. There is victory that awaits!