Last night I was able to attend a Regional Final high school basketball game. The winner earned themselves a ticket to Des Moines and the opportunity to play in the state tournament. The atmosphere was wonderful and action was intense, both brought back memories from 15 years ago. Back in '94 I was the senior dreaming of playing at state, but the loss we suffered ended that dream.
As I watched some of the girls experience what I had years ago my mind went to work. I was taking advantage of the opportunity to remember. And as I thought about the days gone by, I started to think about winning and losing.
Why is it losing tends to stick out? Or at least it does for me. I mean even as they introduced the teams last night Waukon had a record of 19-1 and my focus immediately went to the lone loss. When did it happen? Who did they lose too? By how many points?
Why do I focus on that? Because it's not just an isolated occurrence - our record was 18-5 and I know I could tell you who we lost to and pretty much could give you the scores as well. I thought about this and tried to answer the same question I just posed, I have yet to do that, but have had some interesting thoughts.
As a former player and coach I realize the value of a loss, sometimes it actually holds more worth than a win. It can serve as a wake-up call, it builds character, unites teams and puts things in perspective.
I know this is all true in the world of sports, but does it apply to the rest of life? Again I started searching for an answer and my mind went back to a sports related event. As a freshman in college I was playing ball when I tore my ACL and saw my career come to an end. This loss hurt more than losing any game, now the sport was taken from me, but thru time there was gain.
God began working as I searched for reasons for the pain and He provided as I realized my life had to revolve around Him, not a little orange ball. Yes it hurt, but the pain had a purpose and eventually the loss was a gain.
As my mind kept working I took the opportunity to think about the greatest personal loss I've ever encountered - last August we experienced a miscarriage. The loss still hurts and has created questions that I'm sure will last forever, but still God has worked through it. My faith has grown and my desire to share with others has increased as well.
Then I think about this past November when my 98 year old Grandma passed away. It was a loss we expected, but it still hurt. And still does at times, especially when my little ones think of her and the questions start all over again. But as I took a look at this memory thoughts went to how I focused on my loss - my grandma was a dear lady full of wisdom and joy missed by many. But I know she is in a better place, so really my loss is her gain. And like my little boy reminds his sister, someday we will see her again forever and ever.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea - there is value in loss, God works in it and through it. Strengthening us and impacting others. I had no idea a basketball game could trigger thoughts like this, but I'm thankful I was reminded of the value in taking advantage of the opportunities to remember.
When we take the time to look back, we are reminded of God's hand in everything. His faithfulness in the past gives us strength to face the future. And in this life sometimes we lose, so we need to remember His power, promises and provision in order to get up and face tomorrow.
And remember win or lose, He's on our side!!