By Joe Smith

    'On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”' - John 20:19

    Dramatic wins and heartbreaking losses are results that all hockey players can relate to. Whether it’s an unlucky bounce which leads to the opposition receiving a gift in overtime or an amazing solo effort from a teammate to score a late game winner, hockey is full of emotional ups and downs.  Don Cherry always said: “There’s nothing as high as winning in overtime and nothing as low as losing in overtime.”

    Jesus handpicked twelve men who would be with him at all times and learn exactly what it means to follow Christ. Throughout years of walking with Jesus, they witnessed jaw dropping miracles, got into fights, saw death, resurrection, and incomprehensible demonstrations of love. They were loved and hated, accepted and rejected, physically attacked and welcomed into homes. These guys definitely knew about emotional ups and downs! Yet, despite all of this, the disciples kept their focus on Jesus and their greater calling of telling the world about him.

    You can bet that these men cherished the positive results of their work. They rejoiced when things went well, but not so much they lost sight of the work ahead. When the storms of life appeared, they weren’t crippled with grief, anxiety, and depression. The disciples had walked through thick and thin, but their biggest test came when they experienced the ultimate loss; the death of their beloved leader, Jesus Christ. After his crucifixion, the disciples thought the game was over, their hope was gone. They hid from their enemies out of fear by locking themselves away in a “safe house”. Then, the impossible happened. Jesus appeared to them and gave them comfort and hope (John 20:19). He was the only answer to their grief and fear. They would later go on to experience many “wins” and “losses”, but maintained focus and refused to dwell on them for longer than was necessary.

    I was once told about a coach who issued what he called the 12 o’clock rule on his team. After a big win he told the team to enjoy it. Celebrate (not too crazy). Bask in it, but once that clock hit midnight it was a new day. That game was now simply a statistic and it was time to make the most of the next ice time. The same applied to a tough loss. Be angry. Get upset about all the little things you did wrong. Assess what you could have done better. But, once it hit midnight you forgot about it and moved on. The focus was now on the next day and the next set of goals and accomplishments.

    Life is full of “wins” and “losses”. Our spiritual lives are full of “wins” and “losses”. Everyday should be one where we are growing closer to God. We can never be satisfied with where we are, but we can rejoice at knowing we are God’s children and nothing can take us away from him (John 10:28). We are always moving forward. So, celebrate the wins and cling to God during the losses. 

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