by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.
Every football season I’m inspired by the number of teams who trail by thirty points or more for most of a game and then make a comeback and win.
What does it take to make that kind of recovery?
I can’t help but be reminded of Yogi Berra’s words, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!” Some say the spirit of his famous exclamation emphasizes that one should not assume the outcome until the conclusion has actually been reached.
When I look at the faces of the football players as they make their winning comeback, I see confidence and determination as well as persistence and a firm resolve to not give up. Their regained momentum and ultimate success seems grounded in their faith that they can overcome any deficit and triumph.
I can also look at the faces of the losing team members and see disappointment, dismay and defeat — and they haven’t even lost the game yet.
Through the years, many entertainers, politicians and athletes have been given the distinction of “comeback kid.” This title has generally been granted to the person who is said to have clawed his or her way back to success, who overcomes a fall from grace, who makes an unlikely comeback. Some people think of former President Bill Clinton and Robert Downey Jr. as a couple of comeback kids, for example.
There may be many Biblical characters that come to your mind that could receive such a title, but for me none seems more deserving than Joseph.
During the course of perhaps twenty years of his life, Joseph was robbed, despised, betrayed, sold into slavery, accused falsely and imprisoned. But he went from prison to palace as second only to Pharaoh in one day.
Joseph’s comeback was not the end of a long struggle to regain status and respect. He didn’t fight his way back to the top.
What impresses me most about Joseph during what some might think of as his years of injustice and misfortune, was his attitude and spirit. He never seemed defeated or depressed. He didn’t express resentment or hatred toward those who abused or maligned him. Regardless of his difficulties or circumstances, he was determined to be the best he could be. And so he was.
During his years of servitude, he became the most willing and best servant he could. When he became overseer of his master’s house, he managed the house well. When he was wrongfully imprisoned, he didn’t complain or become bitter but rather tried to be a useful prisoner and was soon put in charge of other prisoners.
It was his spiritual wisdom and unwavering faith in God’s goodness that gained his eventual freedom and success. (His story is found in the book of Genesis, chapters 37 through 47.)
I’m quite certain that Joseph knew God had a purpose for his life at every moment of his life. And I love how he didn’t let anything thwart him from fulfilling whatever that purpose might be. And in so doing, he found purpose in every circumstance he lived through, and many were blessed by his actions.
It was as if these words of Christ Jesus lived in his heart, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) He never forgot that his Father — God — loved him and was caring for him at every moment. He didn’t wait or fight to receive the “kingdom” at some future time. Throughout his life, Joseph lived and expressed the goodness of God and was rewarded again and again in small and grand ways — even when he was in prison.
Many of us today are waiting for recovery of lost savings and jobs. ‘Tis the season for comebacks, my friends! Keep your faith strong that any deficit can be overcome. And in the meantime — as you live each day — be a “Joseph” and look for purpose in every situation. Make each moment the best it can be. And I suspect you will find the best each moment has to offer.
So no matter what kind of comeback is sought — whether it is by football team or an individual — triumph is God’s promise to his beloved children.