At the end of the year, as we prepare to dive into 2020, we are in the midst of what is, and what was, and what is to come. The photo shows an Inward dive which begins with the diver at the end of the springboard with her back to the water. The diver is facing backwards, but the end result is that she will be moving forwards. This is the position we find ourselves in: at the end of our springboards, facing backwards, reflecting on 2019 as we prepare to dive forwards into 2020, a new year and a new decade.
At the end of the year, most everyone, and athletes more than most, look backwards and forwards. We look back over the past year’s accomplishments and achievements, and forward to the coming year’s promises and potentials. Sports teams and athletes look back at what could have been, and look forward to what may well be. As believers, we should do the same. We should be well versed in the already and the not yet; what has happened and what is yet to occur.
To know something backwards and forwards is an idiom which means “to be extremely well-informed about something.” As people of faith, we should be extremely well-informed about what God has done, what He is doing, and what He is about to do. Looking at past victories helps us to long for future triumphs. We must be well versed and “well informed” about something. And that something is our faith in God. We are to be “rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith” (Colossians 2:7), so that we can take root downward and bear fruit upward.
Backwards and forwards covers where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. It includes going from strength to strength, from victory to victory and from glory to glory. Thus the “Theology of Sports” covers and includes both the theology and the philosophy of sports. Theology and philosophy include life and love; passion and pathos; winning and wanting to win; losing and hating to lose. “Correctly understood, theology and philosophy are inextricably intertwined.”
Jesus is our “backwards and forwards.” He is our alpha and omega, our first and our last, our beginning and our ending, and everything in between. Jesus is our theology and our philosophy. “Traditionally, theology is defined as “faith seeking understanding.” Philosophy is indispensable to theology because it articulates the questions that theology answers. And, from a Christian perspective, philosophy needs theology, for the final source and substance of wisdom is the God who has reveled himself to us in Christ.”
Jesus is our faith and our reason. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, and the cause and effect of our reason. “Faith and reason are thus the two ‘wings’ on which the human spirit rises to contemplate truth. God has placed a desire to know him in our hearts so that we can also come to know the fullness of truth about ourselves. It is marvelous to learn by firsthand experience that ‘all truth is God’ s truth’ and that one cannot pursue truth sincerely in any field of endeavor without coming eventually to fall – backwards and forwards – into His arms.” (Excerpts from Professor H.S. Horton-Parker, Regent University).
As we look back on 2019 and look forward to 2020, let’s thank God for the maintains and let’s thank Him for the valleys too. Faith says to reason, the trials had to happen. Because if we never had a problem, we’d never know that God could solve them.
And let’s rejoice in advance, for the best is yet to come.
Happy New Year