One Last Time
16 Manuary, 2016
“As a 42 year old adult who is still a Cowboy fan, I have found a new hero and I will always use this as an example to the kids I coach from now on.” – Unknown
Super Bowl number three was all over except for the time. The score was out of reach for the Buffalo Bills. They were beaten for the third time. This time it wasn’t even close. Three years in a row they had made it to the greatest football game of the year but fallen short. And as a defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys ran in celebration of a fumble recovery towards the end zone it was not a time to quit. In that moment nothing could make a difference in the outcome of the game. It was over. A comeback was not possible. But for Don Beebe, neither was giving up. So he ran. And inches before the football crossed the scoreline in the hands of that celebrating Cowboy he stripped the ball away. He said it meant nothing to him in that moment. It was just natural to him. But not to everybody. Thousands of letters came. Even Cowboy fans sent him letters. Among them letters from men thanking him for the opportunity to teach their sons what it means to never give up.
As the door closed behind the king of Israel and Elisha was again left to die in that room the count was still short. He had been promised 16 miracles the day Elijah left him. But no one else was coming. The king had just left using up the 15th miracle. One more time God. I can imagine Elisha asking. Then something unexpected happened. Elisha died. 15 miracles, one short. There was no turning back. Nothing anyone could do. Had God just left him without fulfilling His promise?
Maybe that’s you today? Maybe you feel like God has left you and fallen short of His promises to you. Where is God? You might be asking. I can’t feel Him, I can’t see Him, I don’t know Him. How easy it is to forget what’s already happened. It’s so easy to regard the past as normal. Remember when you were born? Probably not, but that was a miracle. Fingers and bones, eyes and ears, a mouth and toes. Where did they come from? I mean before the sperm and the egg. I mean before your parents or great grandparents. I mean… How far can we go back and still find traces of you?
The prophet Jeremiah describes his calling from God this way. “Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’” – Jeremiah 1:4-5 (ESV)
If today you’re feeling like God has left you, or that perhaps there is no God. Consider your biological history. It spans to the beginning of mankind. It spans to the beginning of everything we know. You began in the mind of God. And so God has a purpose for you too.
But it’s hard to feel purpose when we don’t see God doing His thing in our lives. Do you think Elisha died with the idea that God had come up one short in his life? We have no way of knowing. But whether Elisha knew it or not, God was not done with him yet. The Bible says, “So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.” – 2 Kings 13:20-21 (ESV)
You may be feeling dead today. But did you know God can still do a miracle through you? The game may be over, you’re thinking. But did you know life can come from simply not giving up. Elisha died, but God doesn’t know how to give up. It’s not part of Him. In fact He wasn’t even struggling. He was just doing what was in his playbook. If you could see God’s playbook, under Elisha’s 16th miracle you would read, “Use Elisha’s bones to raise a man from the dead.” I know I’m being a little facetious, but there’s a point. The point is God’s plan for you isn’t through. No matter what. The score’s insurmountable. The table’s already been turned. The game’s over. But you can keep playing. God’s got a work to do through you if you’ll accept it. If you could look in God’s playbook under your name, what would you see? Would your name show up? You see you have be on the team in order for God to call a play for you.
When Don Beebe refused to give up on a failed play, he didn’t just prevent another touchdown by the opposing team, making the score even worse. He was inspiring others to never give up on even more important plays. Life plays. I don’t care if you’re in jail for the rest of your life. You still have plays. God can still use you. Maybe you won’t be able to win your game. But you can help someone else find success and significance. And here’s the real point. We can never win the game. It’s God’s job to do the winning. It’s God’s job to do the miracles. It’s God’s job to revive the dead. So don’t give up. He’s not giving up on you. In fact, He has a play called for you right now. You can decide right now whether you want to run it. It’s a decision of destiny. It’s a life play.
Never Give Up,