If you are not a fan of the Chicago Cubs, PLEASE do not discard this post simply because there are Cubs reference. There are important faith points to which these references relate, so hang in there with me.
Each year most Lutheran schools select a school theme. This theme may be a specific Bible verse or sometimes a phrase that is based on a spiritual concept. Interestingly, many schools seem to have chosen Romans 8:37-39 as a theme for this year, including my school, Lutheran High School. This is what these verses say:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
On the evening of November 2nd, 2016, I was sitting nervously in a guest house in Queens, New York, watching my beloved Chicago Cubs battle the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the World Series. As many know, the Cubs had not won a championship since 1908 and they were on the verge of doing so. Things looked secure with a three run lead going into the bottom of the 8th inning, when this happened:
The worst fears of Cubs fans rose to the surface. There were so many games in the past 108 years where the Cubs had not only squandered opportunities for greatness, but also did so in the most agonizing ways. Even the most optimistic of fans had to be thinking about this blown lead and how it might lead to another excruciating downfall.
As I watched the game in the guest house, that sinking feeling set in once more after this home run. What was going to happen? I could barely watch, the tension was so great. At this point, instead of watching in the common area of the guest house I retired to my room and logged into my online account to watch the finish. If the Cubs were going to lose, I did not want others to see my agony with that.
But that was the last time that Cleveland scored. The game entered extra innings when this happened:
And then this:
Complete joy! Jubilation! They had done it! They finally won! Amazing!
By this time it was already early the next morning and everyone else was asleep, so I had to keep my joy to myself. With such an incredible finish though, I could not sleep, and I fielded texts and messages from family, colleagues, former students, and many other well-wishers the rest of the night. The Cubs had finally conquered the baseball world.
So you are probably wondering what this has to do with our theme verse. As I reflected on these words from Scripture, the word “conquerors” kept returning in my mind. While the Cubs were conquerors in the 2016 world of baseball, the type of conquering that the apostle Paul shared with the Romans is far more significant. As a result, here are three thoughts that I have pondered with these verses:
We are more than conquerors — and this is permanent! The Cubs victory in 2016 was completely exhilarating — something I will never forget. But when the 2017 and 2018 campaigns began, they were no longer conquerors. They had to start over, just like every other team. Jesus Christ, conquering sin, death, and Satan through His redemptive suffering and death and His glorious resurrection, made us permanent conquerors through faith in Him. We don’t have to start over. We know our eternal salvation is secure through faith.
We are MORE than conquerors! What does this even mean? What is it like to be more than a conqueror?. There is something even better than what I felt when the Cubs won the World Series? How is that even possible? In a sermon I heard at my home church last year, this phenomena was described as being a hyper-conqueror. The glory of what awaits us as Christians has been already sealed by Christ’s death and resurrection so that we are indeed MORE than conquerors. What a promise! What a blessing!
We don’t have to be anxious about the future! Believe me, I was incredibly anxious about the future during Game Seven of the World Series, especially during the 8th, 9th and 10th innings. That tension was so difficult to manage because I did not know what the outcome was going to be. However, as MORE than conquerors, we already know the outcome. Those with the most simple faith in Christ and His work on our behalf are already assured of heavenly and eternal glory. While we still may become anxious about things of this earth, we have no reason to be anxious about our eternal future. We already know the outcome!
I hope you stuck with me through this article and see the joy that God wants us each to have — the promise we hold on to today but the sure and certain eternal hope we share as Christians. I pray that this theme verse will not only be a blessing to our school throughout this year but is a blessing to each of you as you reflect upon God’s amazing saving work on our behalf.