10 Nov Lessons from the Chicago Cubs: A Parable of Persevering Faith
Last week, an event occurred that could not have passed over the notice of any American – the Chicago Cubs won the World Series! Now, I am a Georgia girl but I married a Chicago boy, which means that I also married into a love for the Cubbies.
Cubs fans are a fascinating lot of individuals. Trust me; I have studied them first- hand 🙂 These die-hard loyalists have persevered with their team losing season after losing season, close call after close call, through disappointment and “not-yet” but “almost” seasons. This love and this loyalty to a team is a special thing; grandfathers have played catch with their grandsons and told stories of players and major highlights.
Children have grown up watching, listening to, and persevering with their team, never to see a World Series win. All they had were the stories from years long ago to stand upon, yet they continued to believe that things would turn in favor for their team.
A Lesson in Persevering Faith
After spending a week watching this series with my husband and being introduced to dozens of fans (many of whom were elderly men and women), I noticed that there are many parallels in this story that can apply to our spiritual journey of faith.
There is something to be said about loyalty these days. Few seem to have this important character quality that once was highly valued. When the going gets tough, many just give up altogether.
Cubs fans have most certainly had their share of testing. “C’mon, man. Just choose a winning team already!” I’m sure that over the decades, millions of Cubs fans have heard those words or something similar to them. But a large majority have decided to say, “Nope – for better or for worse, this is my team, and I’m sticking with them! I’m choosing to believe that the winning season is ahead!“
Here’s a parallel to our faith: Choosing loyalty to Christ is often not popular. There is suffering involved, there is much that we must give up when we take the hand of our Savior and follow him. Others may say, “Where is the promise of His coming? Why do you keep putting your faith in Him? Why not just live for today?” and yet the true Christ-follower is unwavering in confidence that what God has promised, He will do. The promise of God is one of certain victory over sin and death. This is a promise that keeps the believer through any hardships this world brings their way.
108 Years of Waiting Makes for a Sweeter Celebration
5 million people gathered for the celebration parade of the Cubs the day following game 7 of the World Series. It was the 7th largest gathering in human history, which in itself is noteworthy. Why? When you wait for something long enough, the fulfillment of that hope is even sweeter.
For Cubs fans who persevered with their team through every twist and turn, there is a sweetness of hope fulfilled that simply would not be as sweet if it had come early and often. In fact, many of these fans felt that when they watched this historic event unfold, it was as though they were celebrating with grandparents and great-grandparents who had also longed to see this day.
Ok, I will be the first to say that this is just a baseball team. This was just a series of baseball games and next year, there will be another match up of teams who will be deeply excited as well.
But there is a special story here for those who have eyes to see it. There is a story of unmoving loyalty (albeit in a temporal and earthly past-time) that mirrors persevering faith becoming sight. There is also a “journey of faith” that this team and its fans have taken together; Millions who had once defected or had never before followed the Cubs began to watch and were, in turn, inspired by the journey as well.
Chicago fans have waited 108 years to see their team win. Believers have been waiting for over 2000 years for the return of our King (which may or may not happen in our lifetime) and the promise of eternal life. We tell our children about what He has done and what He has promised to do. We think of the great cloud of witnesses who have come before us and persevered, never seeing the promise fulfilled with their eyes. We wait expectantly. We do not lose hope when hard times come. We know that the victory will come and when it does, it will be all the sweeter for the waiting.
And in the mean time, we can smile when we witness stories that bear witness of generational loyalty and longing finally fulfilled in the realization of hope and the joy that succeeds it.