The Liverpool Football Club of the English Premier League is one of the most storied, historic franchises in all of sports. The start of the 2010-2011 Premier League season, however, has been anything but historic for the Reds and their fans. With a new coach, disastrous ownership issues, and serious injury problems to begin their season, Liverpool struggled. Some wondered if the Reds would ever recapture their past glory or if they had become irrelevant in the world of football. Then, the ownership issues were settled, easing anxiety about the club’s future. Players started getting healthy and adjusting to new coach Roy Hodgson’s style of play. Slowly it started coming together with a mini-run coming with a couple of close wins against lower ranked teams. Sunday, however, the perseverance paid off with a huge 2-0 win over defending champion Chelsea at Anfield. Through difficult times and disappointing moments, the squad hung in there—and now they are well-positioned for the remainder of the long Premier League season.
Life is like that. It is a long season with bumps and bruises and ups and downs—and sometimes you just have to hang in there. Paul spoke of this as part of the maturing process in the life of faith. He wrote:
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)
Notice the process: tribulation teaches us the value of perseverance, and perseverance produces character—which offers us hope in the dark seasons of life. Without trials and challenges none of it ever happens, but even so the benefit of those trials will not be seen without perseverance. Absent a commitment to hang in there, we never grow and never know what hope might bring. It all begins to come together when we hang in there—living a life of perseverance. So, it really is good counsel. If life is tough right now, hang in there. The resulting character can equip you to face the future.
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain