When at the beginning of September the Tampa Bay Rays were some half-a-dozen or more games behind the Boston Red Sox for the American League wild card spot, the die was cast as far as I was concerned: The Red Sox would once again meet their Eastern Division rivals — the famed New York Yankees — in the post-season. It was a foregone conclusion.
On the last night of the regular season at the end of September, I can’t think of a more nail-biting finish to determine the wild card. Not only were the Sox and Rays tied for the wild card going into the last game — the Rays had mounted an incredible come back throughout September and the Red Sox lost more games than they won — the way those games went into extra innings was epic, to say the least.
For seven innings in both games (Boston vs. Baltimore and New York vs. Tampa Bay) my “foregone” conclusions were indeed coming to pass: Boston was winning by several runs, and so was New York. Therefore, September was going to go down as an anomaly in the eventual placing of the Sox in the wild card position.
But alas! Baltimore tied the game by the ninth, sending the game into extra innings; Tampa Bay tied its game by the ninth to force extra innings as well. And Surprise! When all was said and done, Tampa Bay won its game …. and the Red Sox lost theirs.
I guess what may appear to be a foregone conclusion was not the way to go. It isn’t the way to go when “guessing” winners and losers. It isn’t the way to go in life.
And it certainly isn’t the way to go, with God.
The Christian God is a turn-around God. Always surprising us with grace. Always rising out of the dust. Never a foregone conclusion based on the “evidence”.
I realize I’ve thrown in a heap of superlatives. Yet I can’t think of a better way to describe “God”!
When death appears to be a foregone conclusion, the end game, based on the evidence of deteriorating bodies and physical capacities of our human existence, what do we say about the nature and activity of God?
Standing by the graveside of a loved one recently inurned, death seems so final. So does God.
Nevertheless, I don’t want to underestimate God. Because my hunch is that it is in God’s nature to mount an incredible comeback and surprise everyone at the end of it all.
It is called: Resurrection. New life out of death.