What the KC Royals Taught me Last Night.

I have a book project that has become more than frustrating.

After several months of intense writing, I believed I had crafted a devotional for athletes and coaches that would serve as a huge blessing in their life.  In short order, I had written a manuscript, crafted the book proposal and attained a high profile literary agent.  Getting a literary agent to represent the book was difficult, but in doing so, I was confident he would be able to open doors that were previously shut. Little did I know publishing giants still serve as gatekeepers to the book world.

My agent started out optimistic.  But with every “pitch” to a publisher, the same response seem to volley back into our court.  “It’s good, but the author needs a larger platform”.  In short, I needed a larger following to insure “sales” of the book. This was frustrating, discouraging and personally embarrassing. My friends and family knew the book I had written was being pitched. They also knew I had high hopes. With every month, however, my discouragement continued to grow. In my mind, I could feel myself staring failure in the face and choosing to give up. Electing to back down. In no time, the book would sit dormant, rejection letters from publishers would continue to accumulate and my hopes of bringing this message to athletes and coaches was fading quickly.

If I were to be completely honest, I felt defeated.  Until, that is, I watched the Kansas City Royals comeback and win last nights game.  This would be their fourth comeback of the series, providing evidence to the fact that resilience and perseverance are more than often a requirement of winning. In fact, over the course of the playoffs, the Royals had win probabilities in seven games of:

18%

1%

25%

8%

10%

16%

5%

They won all seven of those games.  Let me say that again.  When their backs were against the wall and failure was staring them directly in the face, they kept playing.  They kept persevering.  They kept working.   And because of their resilience, they kept winning. I have to say, I was more than convicted last night as I watched a team stare defeat directly in the eyes and laugh. I don’t mean that metaphorically.  They literally were laughing in the dugout during the 9th inning as they senses a comeback.  Personally, I know that through the rejection my small little book project, I haven’t been laughing.  I have not been working.  And, I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve not been persevering.

As I’ve pondered this lesson of sports and life, another interesting thought has continued to surface in my mind.  A reflection on the win probability of Jesus.

I wonder what the win probability of Jesus was as he stood on the steps with Pontius Pilate and Barabbas?  50%?

Or how about as they lashed his back with blood stripes and pressed a crown of thorns into his head? 19%?

I wonder what the odds makers were shouting as they drove nails through his hands and a spear through his side? 3%?

Or how about this. What were the odds as they laid Him in the grave and covered the doorway with a boulder? 0%?

My friend, today you and I are given the privilege of serving a God who didn’t stare defeat in the face, He stared death in the face and kicked its butt.  His back wasn’t against a wall, it was resting upon on a cold hard grave. Defeat seemed likely, yet He still rose in VICTORY.

So often, victory occurs outside the parameters of statistics.  Beyond what is probable and far past the norm.  It’s often times a weird concoction of improbable ignorance and blind faith to keep beleiving when all hope seems to have passed. So if your in a struggle of your own today, have hope.  The God you love is no more concerned about statistical probabilities anymore than the KC Royals were last night.  In fact, he specializes in overcoming the odds and is a master at bringing victory to peoples lives, including yours.

Oh, as for the little book project that has been rejected and neglected? It’s time to laugh, work, persevere, and keep going.  I think the Royals would do it that way, but more importantly, I’m fully confident the Savior I love would want it that way.