I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14
In 1936 boxer Joe Louis had the hopes and dreams of America on his shoulders. He was 22 years old. He seemed destined to become only the second African American fighter to the Heavyweight Championship of the World in history. On June 19, 1936, Joe was matched up against Nazi sympathizer, former champion Max Schmeling. Joe was highly favored. Somehow Joe became confused, and frustrated, and just seemed lost in the ring that night. The harder he tried, the worse thing became for him. Finally, in the 12th round Joe was knocked out. On June 22, 1938, in a rematch with Schmeling, a more focused Joe Louis dominated. He knocked the German down three times and out in two minutes and four seconds of the very first round.
Do you remember the poem, “The Mighty Casey?” It ends with Casey letting down the whole town of Mudville by striking out to lose the game. Legendary writer Grantland Rice later wrote a sequel called “Casey’s Revenge.” Now nicknamed “Strikeout Casey” he loses his confidence and the support of his team and his town. After mighty struggles he again comes to bat in the last inning with the game on the line, and facing the same team and pitcher. This time, the mighty and humbler Casey gets a hit to win the game.
Sandy Koufax was a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers who had a great fastball and a once in a lifetime curve ball. He signed with the Dodger for big money, but while showing some flashes of brilliance, he was not very successful. His record was only 36 wins and 40 losses. He always tried so hard, giving 110% trying to strike out every hitter. One day before a meaningless spring training game, catcher Norm Sherry urged Sandy to just have some fun out there on the mound. He told Sandy to relax and just enjoy the game. Sandy had a brilliant game, and learned how to simply let his talent do the work and not try so hard or think too much. For the rest of his career, Sandy was 129-47. It can be argued he is the greatest pitcher that ever lived.
In our lives we have so many ups and downs, triumphs and failure, good things happen, and bad things that we just cannot understand. We MUST keep in mind every day is there is a chance for a comeback. As we head into the Winter Olympics, the following comes to mind: Every set back is a chance to come back and rise.
Keep in mind, we don’t travel the comeback trail alone. We have people who love us, who walk with us. We have a faithful Savior who is forever with us. Strive – Strain Forward – Forget the Past – Keep Moving in Life, in whatever competitions and situations you find yourself. Keep going knowing you are loved, cared for, with other people in it all, and Jesus Christ is with you and your ultimate goal.