TITLE: The Thrill of Victory
DATE: February 20, 2019
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 -ESV - “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
ABC used to carry a program called the “Wide World of Sports” The show was probably best known for its introduction where it showed a great many athletes at their respective sports… athletes who were succeeding and athletes who were failing. Behind the video clips the narrator spoke of “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
Those phrases describe Clay Warner, an 18-year-old Senior who plays on the basketball team at North Polk High School in Iowa. At least they should describe him. Let me explain…
No there is a reason for that: you see, Clay Warner is legally blind. He was born a micro preemie with cerebral palsy at 23-weeks. The blindness, even with special glasses is pretty profound. And when it came to playing basketball, his coaches haven’t put him in out” of concern that he would get hurt.”
So there you have it: some thrill of victory, and a lot of agony of defeat.
But the thrill and the agony recently got reversed. It was Senior Night… the last time Clay would put on the uniform for his school. The coaches talked to the other players and let them know if it was possible, they were going to play Clay.
The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarters went buy. They were down to the last minute in the 4th quarter when the coaches put Clay in the game. When his name and number was called, the crowd got on its feet and gave him a standing ovation.
The ball was put in play and given to Clay. He had a chance to take a shot. Focusing his eyes on the lower-right corner of his glasses, the only window of light he has, Clay shot and scored. How do the sportswriters say it? Oh, yes, ‘The crowd went wild.”
Clay remembers, “This whole gym was yelling my name… both benches were jumping. The whole crowd was going crazy. It was like I was a little kid again.”
In short it was a life-changing moment. Never again would Clay’s life be the same.
You will allow me to say that you have had a similar life-changing moment. It was the day you became a believer…….. the day the Holy Spirit kicked Satan out of your heart and welcomed Jesus in. It was the day heaven was substituted for hell; when happiness replaced horror; when salvation stepped in and moved damnation out
The only problem is this: while Clay will always remember the swish of the basketball as it went, all net, through the hoop, we often forget what the Savior has done for us and the impact that change has made in our lives. So if you have forgotten the thrill of victory Jesus gives, I have only this to say: “Don’t forget, keep giving thanks.”
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, by Your sacrifice I am healed. May I remember what You have done and live my life in appreciation. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
Today’s devotion was inspired by various articles, amongst which is the one written by McKinley Corbley for Good News Network on February 5, 2019 . Those who wish may check out this link which was, at the time of writing, fully active: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/watch-what-happens-when-legally-blind-basketball-player-takes-one-shot-in-his-only-game-of-the-year/
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html