I write this article knowing that it will be published on election day in the United States. Yet I also know that many, most, in fact, will read it after the election is over, and the results are known. This year’s Presidential election as been like a storm that just wouldn’t leave. It assaulted the senses and sensibilities. Long-established understandings and agreements were uprooted. It sucked the oxygen out of the room and seemed to be the only news that mattered. Only history will know if this was the pinnacle of the storm or if it will only get worse. And yet this year we also experienced Game Seven of the World Series and were reminded that there is more to life than the drama of politics.
Cubs won! I know that for some of Lambchow’s readers that won’t mean much so let me try a build a bridge in a few sentences. The Chicago Cubs were known as the loveable losers. Their last appearance in baseball’s championship was 1945, the last time they won the World Series was 1908. Cubs fans have often been used as illustrations for patience, persistence, long-suffering, and perhaps foolishness and futility. The thought of the Cubs winning the championship was linked with hell freezing over and the world coming to an end. It was seen as the impossible thing. For 107 seasons Cub fans repeated this mantra – There is always next year.
Game seven laid it all on the line. One team was going to win. For Cub fans it was filled with all the emotion we’ve lived with over the years. We had nail-biting hope, the glimmer of possibility as we went up by five runs, the angst as mistakes were made that blew away the lead, the patience as the rain fell, and something we never ever experienced before, the jubilation of winning it all. It was like a promise fulfilled. Something long desired, long waited and hope for, had finally happened.
So what does Game Seven have to do with the storm of politics and elections? Consider them metaphors for a greater truth. As followers of Jesus, we all at times have storms in our lives. Storms that assault the senses and challenge long-standing truths. But there is this promise, one that Christians have embraced for over two-thousand years. This promise is Jesus’ return and the end of the age when all is made right. Jesus’ return seems like it could happen at any moment and is impossibly far away at the same time. From the earliest days of the Church followers have prayed Maranatha- come quickly, Lord! For two thousand years, we have wondered if today is the day in the same way that Cub fans wondered if this was finally their year.
James reminds us, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” (James 5:7–8, NASB95) No matter how worldly, ugly, divisive, or even bloody things become. No matter how impossibly strong the storms of life blow. We, as followers of Jesus, have the faith, hope and promise that God is king and that Jesus will return. None of us knows if that will be today, in a thousand days, or even in a thousand years, but it will happen. If you think the jubilation of Cub fans was something, well, it’s just a flickering candle when compared to what is yet to come.