The Game Isn’t Over Yet

Published by DonDavidson on

On January 3, 1993, the Buffalo Bills trailed the Houston Oilers 35-3 early in the 2nd half, and their starting quarterback, Jim Kelly, had been knocked out of the game. Their situation seemed hopeless. But Buffalo mounted a comeback behind backup quarterback Frank Reich and eventually won in overtime, 41-38—the greatest comeback in NFL history.

On June 29, 1952, Cincinnati led the Chicago Cubs by six runs in the 9th inning, and the Cubs were down to their last out with nobody on base. Game over, right? Nope. Their next nine batters all reached base safely to complete a 9-8 comeback victory.

So the game’s truly never over until it’s over.

In 722 B.C. the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel and deported most of the Israelites who were living there—probably all who were not able to hide or flee. Eleven years later the Assyrians invaded the southern kingdom of Judah, and King Hezekiah paid them to leave—undoubtedly a form of tribute.

Then in 701 B.C. they returned, apparently in response to King Hezekiah doing something that the Assyrians regarded as rebellion. Perhaps he stopped paying them tribute, or negotiated an alliance with Egypt, or maybe both.

The Assyrians invaded with a huge army, numbering more than 185,000 soldiers. They laid siege to Jerusalem and demanded its unconditional surrender. King Hezekiah knew what would happen if the Assyrians took Jerusalem—the same thing that had happened to Israel. His situation seemed hopeless. As an Assyrian messenger said, how could Hezekiah hope to defeat the Assyrians when so many had fallen victim to them?

But the game was not over yet, because God was working on their behalf, as it says in Romans 8:28:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

2 Kings 19:35-36 tells us what happened next:

Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when the rest got up early in the morning, behold, all of the 185,000 were dead. So Sennacherib the king of Assyria departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh.

I served for twelve years on active duty with the Navy, but then I felt strongly that God wanted me to leave active duty. So I submitted my resignation, giving myself almost nine months to search for a job. When the day came for me to get out, I still had no job. I searched for about three more months after returning to Texas, still without success. I had a wife and infant son depending on me for support, and no job. I never lost my faith, but there were many times that I asked God if I had misread Him.

In desperation I finally opened a small law office and began soliciting criminal defense work through court appointments. And God began opening doors.

I learned that I had been job searching at exactly the wrong time—the federal government had a hiring freeze, the state government was only hiring women, and most law firms weren’t hiring because of a recession.

But because of the federal hiring freeze the federal public defender’s office was short-staffed and couldn’t hire. So federal court appointments were available—and I took all I could handle. When those dried up, God opened other doors for me, and somehow we managed to always pay the bills.

Because I was back in Texas, I got time with my mother before she passed away later that same year, I was here to help my father during the last six years of his life, and after that I was able to help my aunt during her final five years of life. None of that would have been possible if I had not listened to God’s calling and if God had not been causing all things to work together for good.

So if things are going great for you, that’s wonderful. Enjoy God’s blessings.

But there will come a time—and maybe that time is now—when things don’t go so wonderfully. Perhaps a job situation goes awry, a health problem arises, there’s a death in the family, or maybe just the frustrations of everyday life.

Keep the faith. The game isn’t over yet. God isn’t done yet. It looked pretty hopeless for those Buffalo Bills when they were behind 35-3. If they can come back without God’s help, imagine what you can do with God’s help.


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