“If” gave way to “if only” which yielded to “wait until next year.”

by DanWolgemuth on October 24, 2016

71 years.

108 years.

These two specific numbers ooze out of the sports recaps these days as the Chicago Cubs now hover a single win away from going to the World Series for the first time in 71 years. If the Cubs outscore the Los Angeles Dodgers in one of the next two baseball games, and if they are able to then best the Cleveland Indians in a seven game series, it would be their first world championship since 1908. 108 years ago.

For a lifelong Cubs fan, there are simply too many “ifs” in the previous paragraph to make me feel any sense of confidence or comfort.

Cub fans have lived on the short side of “if” for a very long time.

As a youngster growing up in the west suburbs of Chicago, I had my hopes dashed on several painful occasions.

“If” gave way to “if only” which yielded to “wait until next year.”

As a 14-year-old I vividly remember the outstanding 1969 season in which the Cubs had a substantial lead in their division in mid-August, only to give up an incredible 17½ games in the standings to the New York Mets in the last quarter of the season.

“If” and “if only.”

In the mid-1980’s I taught our sons the Cubs starting lineup. They had it memorized. But once again, for naught. Perhaps Bible memorization would have been more valuable and enduring… but alas, I digress.

“If” and “if only.”  Hopes dashed.

Subsequent to my 1969 trauma, the Cubs have hooked their leadership wagon to 28 different managers. Twenty-eight! Each with aspirations of greatness, all with the enduring desire to break the cycle, but again a predictable pattern of “if only” and then, “wait until next year.”

“If.”

A vision tempered. A lofty aspiration seasoned with reality.

Uncertainty…

Baseball gives way to politics. Politics yield to the personal battles that each and every human being faces.

“If” and then “if only.”

In 1969 I was being tugged along in my faith by The Living Bible. A paraphrase that brought the words of scripture to life for a hungry soul. It was here that I read these words from the book of Hebrews:

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. 

Faith. Confidence. Hope.

Security. Assurance. Guarantee.

Beyond the baseball diamond at Wrigley Field. Past the lineup card that Joe Maddon will submit.

Beyond the ballot box. Past the Oval Office.

“If” gives way to “when.”
“If only” submits to “because.”
And “wait until next year” becomes “now.”

Jesus conquers. Perfectly. Eternally. Sovereignly.

Once. For all.

Against this backdrop I cheer. Against this backdrop I yield. Against this backdrop I remain confident.

Sweet hope. Sweet Jesus. Our confident assurance. Nothing more. Nothing less.

(Go Cubs.)

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: