“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” — 2 Corinthians 5:17
I’m not a Buffalo Bills fan, but many of us all heard the same, sickening words uttered by Jim Nantz that Al Michaels uttered three decades before: “Wide right.” A field goal that would decide if Buffalo’s season would move on ended in disappointment, a single flaw unraveling a chance at victory.
As I sat and watched CBS’s telecast of the recent Buffalo-Kansas City playoff game, I thought of how that one statement describes the feelings many of us have about our lives — that we’re just “off.” We try to do the things we should when we need to do them; we live a life that is to be respected, admired, maybe even celebrated. Yet, when it comes down to it, a fatal flaw or single mistake can keep us from attaining the triumph we so greatly wish we could experience. If lives end with that feeling of emptiness that comes from falling after coming so close, it could feel utterly devastating.
For those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, though, we don’t need to feel devastation. Instead, we should celebrate victory. We celebrate knowing we will certainly fall short in our time here; knowing we’re going to miss, sometimes even “wide right” at critical moments in our lives. We can celebrate because we know the moments where we miss don’t define who we are or the measure of our time on this earth. Instead, we celebrate because we know we are on a collision course with a time where we will be made new, as the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5.
I take joy in this faith concept because I have “missed” on so many things in my life. Choices, opportunities, situations — it’s a wonder God has blessed me with what He has considering how many times I’ve missed triumphs due to my sin, lack of faith, etc. But I know that me missing my critical shot isn’t how God defines my life — it’s not “critical” to Him and His ultimate plan. Instead, the part of me that has missed is on a path to be perfectly reconciled by Him, through Him and unto Him.
The questions remain, though: Even if we know Jesus and know we’ve been saved from our sin, how do we keep going through our time here when we miss “wide right”? We keep going because God has said He is going to do great things in places where it seems all that exists is loss, sadness, despair and emptiness (Isaiah 43:18-19). The picture it paints is this: If there is breath in our lungs and beats in our heart, there is time for God to do things in places where we’ve missed our shot. If you’re reading this now, there is still time for God to make a love story out of what seemed like a tragedy.
All of us are going to go through moments in this space and time where we’re off, where we miss “wide right” on the opportunities in our lives. What should encourage all of us, though, is how God is building a time for those who trust in Him and His Son where the snaps, holds and kicks of our lives will be right down the middle. We just have to put our trust in Christ and follow Him with all our hearts. He’s promised to take care of the rest after that.
— Jon Oglesby
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