The Suns currently sit at dead last in the Western conference at 17-55. They are a full 12 games behind the next worst teams, the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks, and 24.5 games (count ‘em!) out of playoff contention. They are in a fierce competition with the Knicks and Cavaliers to finish in last place. If they finished in last place in the entire league that would be their third year in a row finishing in last (four years ago, they finished second to last! Woo!). It’s not been a fun run as a Suns fan.
Between 2006-2010, the Suns appeared in the Western Conference finals three times, tantalizingly close to an elusive NBA championship. For the past nine seasons the team has slid further and further into the abyss with only one season where we won more games than we lost in that span. Our best players over that nine year stretch were such NBA legends as Marcin Gortat, Goran Dragic, and Eric Bledsoe (my tongue is firmly in cheek). We weren’t just bad; we were bad and our future was bleak.
But this year is different.
We’re every bit as bad as we’ve been the past three years, maybe worse, but this year we have hope. We have one of the best young players in the NBA: 22 year old Devin Booker[i], and the first pick of last year’s draft: 20 year old DeAndre Ayton, who has impressed in his first year. We’ve actually gotten better as the year has gone on and we’ve even won 6 of our last 10 games (meaning a third of our victories have come in the last three weeks). And hey! We’re going to get yet another high draft pick!
You see, it’s not so bad to be awful if there is hope. You can endure a lot as a fan if you think that things are going to get better.
That’s a lot like life, isn’t it?
When we set our eyes on our God who will make all things right, it changes the way we look at our circumstances. Our anxieties about the state of the church fade when we remember: we know that we will win the championship! We will know will wear the crowns of conquerors!
Peter talks about the energy for holy living today that comes through our hope in Christ. He says, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”[ii] Our hope in the return of Christ changes the way we live today. I’ve watched more Suns games this year than in the previous nine not because they are any better, but because I have hope—I want to enjoy the ride of these guys from the beginning.
Are you discouraged by your calling? Your marriage? Your kids? Your church? Or are you discouraged our culture? Our politicians? Our country? Don’t lose hope! Don’t let this world determine your hope reservoir. Look to God and be energized for his work through you today!
Our God overflows with hope. Paul concludes his letter to the church at Rome with this prayer, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Amen! May it be so to you and to me.
Image credit: Arizonasports.com
[ii] 1 Peter 1:13