As many of you know, I do sports play-by-play as part of my job. Today I was at the Iowa State Boys Basketball Tournament covering our hometown team Waverly-Shell Rock. Today's game was a consolation game which means the winner finishes in third place in the State Tournament and the loser is fourth.
Consolation games are notoriously bad. Most games are won by the team that wants to be there. The boys in this game have recently had their dreams of a championship taken away from them and finding the desire to compete is unusually difficult.
The consolation game today featured the Harlan Cyclones and the Waverly-Shell Rock Go-Hawks. In the first half Harlan was amazing. They were bigger, they shot way better and they looked like they wanted to be third place in the State Tournament. The Go-Hawks were getting smashed. With 44 seconds remaining in the first half Harlan was winning by 24 points.
At halftime the Go-Hawks had many reasons to give up. They were losing by big time to the team that was the number one seed in the tournament. The crowd for the game wasn't nearly as big as the crowd in the "games that counted" earlier. Plus, they couldn't win a championship anymore anyway.
Well, in the second half Waverly-Shell Rock didn't give up. They played their hearts out. They hustled and played with aggression. Somehow, someway they were dedicated to finishing the year strong. Incredibly, Waverly-Shell Rock ended up winning 65-61 and finishing third in the State Tournament. The crowd that was there went wild. I was excited as could be. It was an inspirational show of mettle and character by that group of young guys.
All that leads me to this: What do you need to fight for in the second half? What areas of your life seem like a lost cause? Where are you tempted to give up?
The basketball game was just a basketball game this afternoon, but it demonstrates something larger. We aren't called to do something until halftime. We aren't called to give up. When the coach talked to those boys at halftime he inspired them to believe they could win. Do you believe that you can have victory in your struggle?
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12
If you are nearing halftime in a struggle in your life, I encourage you to keep fighting. If you feel like letting go, I encourage you to hold on even more tightly. After today's game each spectator was inspired by the play of the boys in the second half. After today's game that team will never doubt their coach when he tells them they can come back and win.
Someone may be watching you and wondering how you'll respond. If you come back fighting and persevere I know they'll be inspired. If you hold on and keep fighting I know you'll believe the promises of God even more the next time.
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
Don't give up. Don't quit at halftime. Storm back in the second half. Fight the fight inspirationally. Run the race to completion. Come out of the locker room believing through Christ you'll have victory today.