Toward the end of that devotion I shared Proverbs 24:10 - If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
I wrote about having success and also some failures. Over the years I have gone into some games that it was pretty clear we had no chance on the scoreboard. I know to some people that sounds like a losers statement; well if that is the case I will confess I at times have accepted being a loser on the scoreboard… BUT I HAVE NEVER ACCEPTED BEING A LOSER IN EFFORT!
I have told many teams that the goal is to make sure the opponent has to earn their victory. Even when “facing the giants” to make sure we didn’t roll over and give up. My demand was that we “play hard to the zeroes!” (When the time clock reads :00)
(In the words of country music philosopher Jason Aldean: “They’re sure gonna know we were here!”)
I was that way as a player as well. In high school we didn’t have a great team. We were not big nor overly athletic. We had one team in our conference (Temple Christian out of Princeton IN) that simply spanked us each time we played them. They had more size and talent than us and they ran a great press! But as a player I wanted to make sure I made some noise! My junior year they beat us really bad at our place in spite of me having some great success in the game. (37 pts / 19 boards) When we faced them in their gym it was awesome as the crowd booed when I made a shot or cheered when I missed… It was great to know that in spite of lopsided scoreboards, the opposition respected me!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are well known for their willingness to face adversity. In Daniel chapter 3 we read of them standing strong against adversity. We know the story… they refused to bow and worship the gold image of King Nebuchadnezzar and as a result were thrown into the fiery furnace. They didn’t burn up and instead were seen walking around with a 4th man that appeared to be the Son of God…
They faced an adversary they could not defeat apart from the miraculous hand of God and stood firm in their faith… but wait just a minute. I do not think their faith was rooted in the outcome of the circumstances but instead in just simply letting God be God…
The King is furious with the boys and reminds them of what they are about to face, asking who the God is that will deliver them… Verse 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.
Sounds like they are fully convinced of physical deliverance but I believe they were convinced of deliverance that was not based upon the circumstances…
18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Would they not have been delivered from the king even if they had burned? The Apostle Paul had the same view when he said, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
All of that to say, “Let’s play hard to the zeroes!” Don’t pay so much attention to the scoreboard (circumstances), but pay more attention to going MAD (Making A Difference) while we have the chance!