Buzzer-beaters. Walk-off homers. Field goals as time expires. Last-minute goals. Overtime thrillers. What do all of these have in common? Not even Hollywood could write the script. Some teams have managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and accomplish what only a precious few can do; go from down and out to up and in in the blink of an eye. These upsets, comebacks and turnarounds lead even veteran sports commentators to exclaim, “Are You Kidding Me?”
This is a tribute to the Miami Heat and the Chicago Blackhawks teams who both won Game 6 of their respective Championship series in the NBA and the NHL Finals. Ray Allen hit a 3 pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. The Blackhawks mustered up 2 goals in 17 seconds late in the 3rd period to not only avoid OT, but a game 7 altogether. The Heat went on to win Game 6 in OT. Lebron James took over in the 4th Quarter, in OT and in Game 7 to secure his second consecutive NBA Championship. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup Trophy for the second time in four years on enemy ice when it looked as if a 2-1 Boston lead would hold. Right up to the end of each Game 6, who would win the Championship was in question.
Near the end of Game 6, some of the Miami fans left the arena because they thought the game was over and the Heat didn’t have a chance to win. Down 16 at the start of the 4th quarter, the Heat looked dead in the water. Down 2-1 with just over one minute to play, the Blackhawks and their fans were resigned to play Game 7 back in Chi-town. The best they could hope for was a last ditch effort to tie the game and force OT.
And then the unthinkable happened. The improbable became achievable. Reality sprang from hope. The Championship was won in a flash. The Heat forced OT and Game 7, and of course won Game 7 in a down-to-the-wire thriller. The Blackhawks said, “the heck with Game 7; we’ll win the Championship right here and right now in Game 6.”
For those that were there or watched on television, it was astounding. For me and many who heard the news the next morning, it sounded too good to be true. Two goals in 17 seconds to go from a 2-1 deficit to a 3-2 lead with less than a minute to play? No way. Yet despite disbelief, it was true.
And I imagine that’s how many felt about the news on that first Easter Sunday almost 2000 years ago. Jesus, dead and gone, came back to life. He rose from the dead. For those who heard about it, this seemed unthinkable, improbable, and impossible. But the lessons we learn in the natural sports world have their roots in the spiritual world. If insanely unthinkable turnarounds can occur in basketball and hockey, why not everywhere else? You are not the only one to struggle with incredulity. The Apostle Paul asked this question: “Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead? (Acts 26:8, New Living Translation).
So the next time you are tempted to ask, “Are you kidding me?,” remember that God is the God of miracles. And He is not done or finished performing miracles for those who believe in and want for a miracle today.