Ya'll Clap

Great character is not often developed in victory - virtue rarely comes at so pleasant a price. Genuine character, the kind that endures, can only be forged in the furnace of defeat.

Anon

Last night I watched the seeds of greatness being sown. It happened after our high school girls were knocked out of the playoffs by a team that, at least for one night, was a bit better than ours. The loss was a difficult one for it did not come from a lack of effort, in fact, the girls gave everything they had for the entire game. Nor did the loss stem from a bad game plan, for we had open shot after open shot. It was just one of those nights that their shots didn't fall. That happens from time to time - in basketball games and in life.

What  added to the difficulty of this particular loss was the fact that we had a great team this year. We have had quite a number of great players through the years, but there was just something about this team. They played well together and they actually liked each other. There was not a lot of the petty squabbling that is so common among groups of adolescents. These girls played as a team! They cheered each other's successes and picked each other up when they failed. So, our hopes were very high that this just might be the year that we finally made it back to State for the first time in nearly half a century.

Then, in 32 minutes, it was over. The dreams of the girls and the coaches and the fans and the town came to an abrupt end in just half an hour of playing time. And we watched the other team's girls and the other team's coaches and the other team's fans celebrate the victory that we had wanted for our side. Then, while they were raising the victor's trophy at half court, the very trophy that we had worked so hard for all year, something marvelous happened. Our coach turned to his girls and said, "Ya'll clap".

And they did. And the seeds of great character were sown, through the tears of disappointment they were sown... at the half-court of a gymnasium in a small town in Texas.

When Jesus was hanging on the cross after having been beaten and spat upon by the Jews, and after having been beaten and spat upon by the Gentiles, and while the crowds were passing by and jeering and laughing and mocking His holy Name - at that very time... Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". And the greatest victory ever was achieved in the death of the greatest One who would ever live.

But thanks be to God. He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I Corinthians 15:57, NIV