Over the last fifteen years, as sports fans, we have seen some amazing comebacks in sports history. In October 2004 the Boston Red Sox became the first team in Major League Baseball to come back being down three games to zero and to win the ALCS against their rival the New York Yankees. After the Red Sox completed that amazing feet, they went on to win their first World Series championship. The Red Sox victory to brought to an end an eighty-six-year championship drought that the city of Boston had previously experienced. In June of 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James won their first NBA Championship in franchise history. The year before the team had lost the NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors. The year they won their first championship, Cleveland wad down three games to one to the defending championships and that year the Golden State Warriors had won a record-breaking 73 and 9 in the regular season. However, the Cavaliers and LeBron James made NBA history by bouncing back to defeat the Warriors four games to three and winning the NBA championship for the team and the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
In March of 2018, the Virginia Cavaliers were the number one rank team in College Basketball. In the NCAA College Basketball tournament, they would lose in the first round in a shocking upset to the sixteen seed that they played. However, one year later the Virginia Cavaliers Men’s team would become the number one rank team in the tournament again. The team would make it all the way to the Final Four and win the NCAA Championship to become the best team in College Basketball. One year before the Head Coach Tony Bennett walked around his campus, his community, and his state as the coach who put out in the first round. However, today, he and his team were able to lift up the trophy, cut down the nets, and declare before the world they were the best team in College Basketball.
As I thought about how these different sports teams bounce bank to become champions, it had me think about the three ways on how the Lord can help us bounce back from our failures. The true grit that these teams show in their perspective sports serves as an example on how we can bounce back from defeat and failure in our lives. The first way that the Lord is able to empower us to bounce back from our failures is through the power of prayer. The second way that the Lord is able to empower us to bounce back from our failures is being to change as a person. Finally, the third way that the Lord is able to empower us to bounce back from our failures is being willing to strengthen our brothers.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).
The Power of prayer
The first way that the Lord is able to empower us to bounce back from our failures is through the power of prayer. When the Lord revealed to Peter what Satan desired to do to him, it was not for the purpose to allow the enemy to destroy Peter and the disciples. When the Lord permits the enemy to come against our lives there is always a greater purpose that will be revealed to us in time. The Lord can use the affliction that we are impacted by to help us to see the opportunity of growth in us and why we need the Lord in our lives. The response which Peter gave the Lord clearly shows that he did not fully grasp what was about to happen to him. His response to the Lord did reveal that Peter was very self-confident of himself into thinking that he could endure going to prison and even worst facing death on behalf of the Master. The Lord told Peter that he was going to fail the Lord by denying Him three times and a rooster would crow as confirmation of Peter doing this. However, the Lord told Peter that though he would fail Him, He prayed for Peter’s faith that it would not fail (Luke 22:31-32).
It is important for us to understand that the Lord knows us better than we know our own selves. When we fail the Lord, He knows that we are not perfect and because of our sin nature it will cause us to fall short of the glory of God. The word of God says in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. That is why through the power of prayer that the Lord will move on the hearts of His people to pray for us to get through our difficult moments. We should never view prayer as a tool that can be used to manipulate people or our own personal wish list. However, prayer is communication with the Father that He allows us to use as a weapon against the enemy and his plans against us. The word of God says in James 5:16 that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. The Lord has equipped us with everything we need to bounce back from every mistake, failure, and setback we will go through as live. The Lord sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession on our behalf that we come back from the breaking off point and return back to Him just as Peter did (Romans 8:34).
Being willing to change
The second way that the Lord is able to empower us to bounce back from our failures is being to change as a person. Do you remember when we were children and their use to be this inflatable bop bag that we use to play with our friends? If you punch the bag, kick the bag or push the bag down, the bop bag would just simply bounce back to its normal position. If you tried holding the bop bag down with your arms or your legs, once you let your grasp go of the bop bag it would just bounce back again. What gave the ability to keep bouncing back every time a kid struck it was because of the bag with filled with a lot of air. At the bottom of the bag, there was a certain amount of weight that helps to balance the bag. The more that children kept punching the bag to make it fall down, the weight of the bottom helps the bop bag to rise back up. Once all of the children got tired of punching, pushing, and kicking on the bag, they would go and find something else to do together. The bop bag would simply stay in its standing position ready to go the next round with the kids who were ready to play with it again. If you let the air out of the bop bag, you would have to put more air back in the bag so that it would be at the right level so that the bop bag could bounce back again from the punches that were thrown at it.
To be able to bounce back from the failures and mistakes we must be open to grow and open to change as a person in Christ. If stay with the mindset of the world or live our lives conformed to the world we only keep stumbling into difficulties. The word of God says in Proverbs 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief”.The evidence of a man or a woman life that has been changed is when they become born again. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, that the Spirit of God will place in us the desire to want to be and do better. When we allow God’s word and promises to come alive on the inside us, our character and attitude will be more of a reflection of being Christ like. Each day we will wake up wanting to please our Heavenly Father by seeking Him in prayer and enduring the growing pains that are required us. However, to refuse to change your attitude, behavior, or your character as a person will keep you from growing and changing into the man or woman of God that He has called you to be. The challenges of life will come and because you refuse to change, you will find it difficult to bounce back like that inflatable bop bag.
Strengthen our brothers
Finally, the third way that the Lord is able to empower us to bounce back from our failures is us being willing to strengthen our brothers. Now just as the Lord promised Peter that he would deny that he knew the Lord, the Lord also promised Peter he would make it to the other side of that difficult moment in his life. The Lord let Peter know that he would deny the Lord three times but there was also coming a time when Peter would recover from his failures. The Lord told Peter when he did bounce back from him denying the Lord, he would be charged with the responsibility of strengthening his brothers. The over confident Peter would take the sting of disappointing the most important person in his life. Peter had promised the Lord that he would stand with the Master even to the point of death but he denied and forsook the Lord just like the other disciples. All of these things that Peter would go through would help mode him into a man that he could be relatable to others who had gone through the same things that he went through as well. Had Peter not gone through these various things which brought him to a place of brokenness, he would not have had a life that could breathe hope and strength to others.
All of us at some point have failed to keep our promises that we made to others which cause people to feel that we could not be trusted. When we offered to do something for the Lord or for others our failure to follow through on our word left people wondering about the lack of integrity that we had. Our being over confident like Peter had us believing that our best intentions would always turn into productive results. We may have even done some things in our lives that we are not proud of causing us to question how can the Lord ever love or forgive me. However, the word of God still says in Psalms 119:71 “It is good for me that I have been afflicted. That I may learn Your statutes”. We are at a place of brokenness and genuine repentance in our hearts that when the Lord can use us to strengthen our brothers. When we allow the Lord to put us back on the potter’s wheel and make us a brand new person in Christ according to 2 Corinthians 5:17 we can bounce back from what we had to endure in our past. Whatever it is in your life that has not you down to your knees, be encouraged my brother because being on your knees will teach how to pray, to change and to strengthen your brothers