Some of you know that I am a big fan of REAL football, or what people here in the US call "Soccer." ;) Last night during the Kansas City Wizards game, a real life example of grace and redemption showed itself.
Jimmy Conrad, the captian of the Wizards and one of the most respected players in the league, committed what were really the only two mistakes in the game for the team, but those mistakes lead directly to the other team's two goals. After the second goal for FC Dallas, every time the camera showed Jimmy, his face looked worn and defeated. There were visible bags under his eyes. In the paper this morning, he said it felt like the weight of the world was on his shoulders.
How many times in our lives have we made mistakes that have been costly, either to ourselves, our loved ones, or even to someone we may not know? Sometimes these mistakes make it feel as if the weight of the world were on our shoulders, and that the entire world is going to wait and watch, anticipating and even rooting for us to make another mess of things. Sometimes it seems as if the only one on your side is the devil, waiting for you to make one final mistake that will cost you everything.
Thankfully, God is always on our side, cheering us on, granting us the grace that we do not deserve, but that we so sorely need in order to be able to move on with our lives. And thankfully for Jimmy Conrad, he was left in the game. In the 80th minute, a ball was delivered toward the Dallas net that one of their defenders tried to direct over the crossbar for a corner kick, but it was too low and the keeper had a hard time handeling the ball. Jimmy was there to head in what would be the game winning goal for the wizzards. He had been given another chance and he took advantage of it. He was the first one after the game to admit that he was not happy about the way he had played the game that evening, but he was also the first to be glad that he had made up for his errors.
God gives us all second chances. While I usually don't care for sports metaphors in sermons or using them as preaching illustrations, the way Jimmy played last night shows, I think, how we are all called by God to use the multiple second chances we are given to turn our lives around. To God I give thanks for grace and redemption.