Yesterday, we saw one of the best soccer games in the United States since the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Japan and the USA battled through 120+ minutes of soccer and once again it came down to penalty kicks. Both teams were playing for their country, but Japan has gone through so much in the past year,whether it be, tsunamis or earthquakes, that has changed how the citizens live their lives.
However, yesterday, we were reminded how sports can be a reprieve from our everyday lives. Japan looked down and out multiple times when the USA got a goal from Alex Morgan with 10+ minutes left in the game or another header from Abby Wambach in the first half of extra time. But, we saw the Japanese fighting spirit as the golden boot winner Homare Sawa made an unbelievable goal to save the game. They showed their toughness in penalty kicks (3-1) and made a whole nation celebrate!
The Japanese were the underdogs in the whole tournament, but they knocked off three of the top five teams in the world. First, they defeated the host nation Germany in extra time, they beat the Swedes in the semifinals and then after 25 straight losses, they finally beat the United States.
This team teaches us a valuable Christian lesson on how we have to keep fighting till the end for the Gospel. One of the apostles, Peter told the people on how our faith will be tested. “If necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
In your life, people are going to ask you why you pursue Christ and in the toughest times, you might wonder why certain things have happened to you. Today, I urge you to continue to follow Christ even though sometimes the odds might be up against you. Just take the Japanese attitude. They could have thrown in the towel with all their losses to the Americans and they continued to think that the impossible was possible.
Just remember what Jesus told his disciples after they could not cast out the demon on their own: “If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20). Keep the faith strong and God will lead you where you can be used to serve Him and give Him glory.