Chicago is a buzz with World Series fever. It is exciting as I have not seen the Cubbies so close to a championship in my lifetime. For others, it is has been much longer. A senior in the church was describing a conversation with a young person who said, “I am so excited. I have not seen them do this well in my lifetime” (a mere ten years). She had been waiting over seventy years.
In our home, we are legitimate Cubs fans. We went to a game as a family in August. I took my son to his first game last year. I pulled him out of school. He enjoyed the whole experience including the ballpark hot dog and chips. He even got a ball then had it signed by Kyle Hendricks after the game. Needless to say, he was thrilled when “the Professor” pitched them into the World Series. We have enjoyed watching the games together with high fives for every strike and a yell after every big hit. Last Saturday, we went outside and lit some bottle rockets off after they clinched the NL pennant. It has been a lot of fun. I cannot imagine the response in Chicago if they win the whole thing.
For many people, this has been an awesome highlight to their fall. It has served as a distraction to a lot of woes ranging from the anemic Bears season to life’s troubles. For a moment in time, people do not have to think about their financial problems, relationship difficulties, or future worries related to their job or health. On Saturday, there was joy that takes you away from the problems of life. For a few hours if not days you can experience joy. Even this week, there is anticipation of what might be – a rocking Wrigleyville and dare we dream a championship parade. Just the sheer thought of such an ending to a dream season makes the problems of this week more easily tolerated. You can put up with your difficult coworker. The bills piling up don’t seem as heavy. The worries of life can be postponed for another week. Sports provide this relief. They serve as a wonderful escape from life’s problems.
Yet, in a couple of weeks, life will return to normal. Even if there is confetti thrown on Michigan Avenue, we will have to once again face the hardships of life. We will have to tackle those bills and navigate those hard relationships. That is for now. One day we will have lasting joy where the worries and frustrations of life are gone. In glory, there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the older order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). In this moment it will not be an escape but a permanent reality. In this moment, we will not experience it for a week only to face it again after the joy surpassed. No, for believers, it will be an everlasting joy absent of pain and sorrow. It will be permanent. Yes, we wait a lifetime for this joy and one day we will experience it. And it will be a joy like no other – one free from sin and pain, standing in the presence of our King.