The longest drought in the history of American sports is over.
As we all know by now, after 108 years without a championship, baseball’s Chicago Cubs won the World Series last night, giving life-long fans like me a chance to celebrate after a lifetime of frustration, futility, and being the easy punch line to a seemingly limitless supply of jokes.
Simba: Hey Dad, what is a World Series?
Mufasa: I wouldn’t expect you to know, Simba. You’re just a cub.
We Cubs fans, the “lovable losers” who have been saying “Wait until next year!” for decades, have now been rewarded for our perseverance. It was fun celebrating last night with our 17-year-old son by my side, high-fiving and jumping around our family room in the aftermath of victory.
Growing up in a Chicago suburb, I was 5-years-old when I saw my first major league game at Wrigley Field. I’ve been a Cubs fan ever since. I grew accustomed to seeing them lose. They were awful throughout my early childhood, never even having a winning season.
Finally, in 1984, they won more games than they lost and made the playoffs, only to lose in five games to the San Diego Padres. At the time, I was 14. It’s the last time I remember crying about a sporting event.
The Cubs teased us with six more playoff appearances over the course of the next three decades. But until last night, never a championship. Still, I never stopped cheering for them.
As I lay in bed last night, unable to immediately sleep after all the game seven excitement, I reflected on the perseverance it’s taken to be a Cub fan. We live in a world that all too often, when the going gets tough, we get going … going … and the next thing we know, we’re gone.
Just think about it.
Your job hits a difficult season, and you immediately decide to start looking for another.
Your church is going through a tough time, and you use it as a chance to shop for a new one.
Your marriage is struggling, and you wonder if separating from your spouse would be easier than having to deal with the pain.
All of these scenarios are surely more serious than following a baseball team. But I think the faithfulness and perseverance that’s been required of lifelong Cubs fans like myself is a good reminder for living a successful life outside the white lines.
Life, like a baseball season, can be long and unpredictable. We can plan, prepare and pray for success, but there are no guarantees. It can take years to realize a particular goal. We can often silently labor alongside other people and rarely see measurable progress. In fact, we’re sometimes called to plant and water the seed of a plant whose fruit somebody else will eat.
Yet, it’s often through the struggle where God teaches, shapes and molds us. It’s through the struggle where we become most like Christ.
Admittedly, I’m not naturally a patient person. But the more I mature in Him, the more that fruit of the Spirit becomes evident in my life. To wait on God and on God’s timing is to trust that He has things under control – even if He waits 108 years to answer a specific prayer.
Rich Bennett is Vice President of Marketing at Focus on the Family. He originally hails from a suburb of Chicago, before moving westward first to Kansas City and now Colorado Springs. He and his wife Stephanie have two teenagers, Parker and Macy, and love spending time together, whether it’s simply having dinner as a family, hiking, skiing … or watching Cub victories.
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