Lessons From the 2016 World Series

by Impact Church

You don’t have to be a fan of baseball or politics to know that the fall of 2016 will be remembered for the historic triumphs of the Chicago Cubs and President-elect Donald Trump.

The plaints of “Wait till next year!” finally ended for Cubs fans, who have waited more than a century to celebrate a world championship. And Mr. Trump shocked political pundits by showing that an outsider can ride the wave of a populist movement all the way to the Oval Office.

While many prophetic voices in the evangelical community have seen significance in the election of a new president, we will refrain from such commentary in favor of several inspirational — yes, even spiritual — lessons learned from the Fall Classic of our national pastime, the enduring game of baseball.

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Never give up! The “Bad News Bears” of Chicago had not won a baseball title since 1908. And even this year, when they proved to be the summer’s best team by winning 103 games, their backs were against the wall more than once during the postseason.

Everyone will remember their improbable comeback from a 3-games-to-1 deficit against the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. But the Cubs were also down 2-1 to the LA Dodgers in the League Championship Series after their high-powered offense was shut out in back-to-back games. And they trailed the San Francisco Giants by a score of 5-2 going into the 9th inning of a game that looked for sure like they would be facing ace Madison Bumgarner in a decisive Game 5 of the Division Series. But the resilient, quick-striking Cubbies scored 4 runs in their last at-bat to finish off the stunned Giants on their home field.

Never give up, dear saints! No matter how bleak the situation may look, where there is life there is hope!

The curse is broken! If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve heard about Chicago’s “Curse of the Billy Goat” in 1945,…the black cat and the Miracle Mets’ upending of the Cubs in 1969,…the mysterious wet-glove error by Leon Durham in 1983,…and the infamous Steve Bartman foul-ball incident in 2003. For more than 70 years, some folks have believed the Cubs were playing under a curse that kept them from the game’s ultimate prize.
Child of God, take heart today in knowing that the curse of sin that once enslaved you has been broken in Jesus’ name! You are free! In fact, you’re not even striving for victory — you live in a place of victory! Our Savior’s triumphant death and resurrection means that the enemy of our souls is a defeated foe. Stop living under a broken curse,…walk in freedom and victorious grace today!

Sometimes a “rain delay” allows a fresh perspective! After blowing a lead in the winner-take-all Game 7 against the Indians, the Cubs were limping into extra innings in the franchise’s biggest game in over a century. The clouds of doubt were rolling into Cleveland, for sure. Fortunately for the Cubbies, the clouds brought a burst of rain as well.
A brief, 17-minute delay ensued as the tarp was rolled over the infield, but it was enough time for a veteran Chicago player to gather his young teammates in the clubhouse to remind them that they were the best team in baseball.

Rather than hanging their heads at having lost the momentum, the Cubs came out of the locker room swinging and scored the eventual winning runs in the top of the 10th.
Brothers and sisters, slow down and take a step back. Look at your circumstances from an eternal perspective. God is in control! You are His child! Things are not as bad as they may appear. Lift your head,…your redemption is drawing nigh! (Luke 21:28)

Burnout is inevitable if individuals are expected to do too much! Cleveland manager Terry Francona announced at the onset of the best-of-7 World Series that the Indians’ pitching ace Corey Kluber would start Games 1, 4 and 7 if the series went that far. He lived up to his word.

The problem was that Chicago had not one top-shelf hurler but several. In fact, all four starting pitchers for the Cubs finished in the top five in the entire National League for fewest hits allowed per nine innings. Though Kluber was brilliant in his first two outings, he was obviously tired and less-than-sharp in Game 7. The Cubs actually saw the same result from their overused ace reliever, Aroldis Chapman.

People of God, what a lesson we can learn! Advancing in the Kingdom requires teamwork and unity, not individual effort. The Apostle Paul said it best: we are all members of one body. Every member is important. Every gift is needed. No one and nothing is insignificant.

We won’t belabor the point to talk about the behind-the-scenes devotion of Chicago’s power-hitting Kyle Schwarber, who blew out a knee back in the spring and, against all odds, returned to add punch to the Cubs’ lineup in the Series.

In closing, how about a little baseball prophecy? Most folks know that the Cubs’ last title before this year came in 1908. But did you know they also won it all in 1907? And now that the cursed drought has ended, don’t be surprised if they do it again.

Indeed, wait till next year!

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