McIntosh United Methodist Church

Spirituality of College Football, Week 5: Hope and Hail Marys

This Week’s Text: 2¬†Corinthians 4:16-18

The most famous hail mary of all time was thrown by Doug Flutie for Boston College against Miami in Miami. He was a short, not terribly athletically gifted quarterback, and his team was playing on the road against one of the dynasties of college football. They should not have been in range to win the game, and yet they were. They ran the hail mary to perfection. Flutie scrambled, avoided a defender, heaved the ball to the end zone, and in the perfect alignment of all of the variables, the ball sailed just over the finger tips of a defender and in to the hands of one of his players. Game over. BC wins!

It is a magical moment. To have been there must have been incredible. The sad thing is that some people missed it. Some people left early. If you ask any of the Boston College fans who had left whether they wish they had been there to see it, I can guarantee you that anyone that wasn’t leaving due to some emergency would have said “Absolutely, I wish I hadn’t have left!” No amount of beating the traffic is worth missing one of the biggest plays in the history of your team.

But they had given up hope. They had resigned themselves to losing. They had allowed the current circumstances to overwhelm them. They had made the decision that there was no way anything worth staying for was ever going to happen. And they were wrong.

How many times do we do this in our own life? How often do we allow our present circumstances to overwhelm us? How many times do we do this to God? How often do we give up hope before the game is over?

In today’s Scripture passage, Paul admits that there are moments in life when it seems like the game is over. He says that when we look at our physical selves and our condition in this world, it looks like we are wasting away. But the game is not over. He says that though the outer nature is wasting away, the inner nature is being renewed. These afflictions are merely temporary, and that they prepare us for the eternal weight of glory. He calls this current state temporary, and the blessing that is coming is eternal.

There is no bigger play in history than the work of salvation God did and is continuing to do through Jesus. It is through the lens of this end that we must view the present and even our past. This lens is the lens of hope. There is nothing more Christian than hope, and there is nothing less Christian that utter despair and hopelessness, which is why it is such a huge temptation and weapon against us. My prayer for us is that we would be filled with that hope, the eternal hope, that knows the end has been written, the outcome has already been decided, and no matter what the game looks like right now, we play for the winning team.