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The Winner
Thoughts on a soccer game

I was watching some little left his best players in, and
kids play soccer. These kids the Team One scrubs were
were only five or six years old, just no match for them.
but they were playing a real Team Two swarmed
game, a serious game. Two around the little guy at goalie.
teams, complete with coaches, He was an outstanding athlete
uniforms, and parents. I didn’t for five, but he was no match
know any of them, so I was for three or four who were
able to enjoy the game without equally as good. Team Two
the distraction of being anx- began to score.
ious about winning or losing; I The lone goalie gave it his
only wished the parents and all, recklessly throwing his
coaches could have done the body in front of incoming
same. The teams were pretty balls, trying valiantly to stop
evenly matched. I will just call them. Team Two scored two
them Team One and Team quick points in succession. It
Two. infuriated the young boy. He
Nobody scored in the first became a raging maniac,
period. The kids were hilari- shouting, running, and
ous. They were clumsy and diving. With all the stamina
earnest as only children can he could muster, he finally
be. They fell over their own was able to cover one of the
feet, stumbled over the ball, boys as he approached the
kicked at the ball and missed goal. But that boy kicked the
it, but they didn’t seem to ball to another boy twenty
care.—They were having fun! feet away, and by the time
In the second period, the the young goalie reposi-
Team One coach pulled out tioned himself, it was too
what must have been his first late. They scored a third goal.
team players and put in the I soon learned who the
scrubs, with the exception of goalie’s parents were. They
his best player, who he left at were nice, decent-looking
goalie. The game took a people. I could tell that his
dramatic turn. I guess win- dad had just come from the
ning is important even when office, tie and all. They yelled
you are five years old, be- encouragement to their son.
cause the Team Two coach I became totally absorbed,

R133 GP God’s Love.


watching the boy on the field progress. Suit, tie, dress on you. You’re my son, and
and his parents on the side- shoes and all, he charged I’m proud of you. I want you
line. After the third goal the onto the field and he picked to go back out there and
little kid changed. He could up his son so everybody finish the game. I know you
see it was no use; he couldn’t would know that this was his want to quit, but you can’t.
stop them. He didn’t quit, but boy. And he hugged him and And son, you’re going to get
he became quietly desperate. kissed him and cried with scored on again, but it
Futility was written all over him! I have never been so doesn’t matter. Go on, now.”
his face. proud of any man in my life. It made a difference.—I
His father changed too. He could tell it did. When you’re
had been urging his son to all alone, you’re getting
try harder, yelling advice and scored on, and you can’t stop
encouragement. But then he them, it means a lot to know
changed; he became anxious. that it doesn’t matter to those
He tried to say that it was who love you. The little guy
okay to hang in there. He ran back on to the field. Team
grieved for the pain his son Two scored two more times,
was feeling. but it was okay.
After the fourth goal, I I get scored on every day. I
knew what was going to try so hard. I recklessly throw
happen. I’ve seen it before. my body in every direction. I
The little boy needed help so fume and rage. I struggle
badly, and there was no help with every ounce of my
to be had. He retrieved the being. The tears come, and I
ball from the net and handed go to my knees, helpless. And
it to the referee, and then he He carried him off the my heavenly Father rushes
cried. He just stood there field, and when they got right out on the field, right in
while huge tears rolled down close to the sidelines I heard front of the whole crowd, the
both cheeks. He went to his him say, “Son, I’m so proud whole jeering, laughing
knees, and then I saw his of you. You were great out world, and He picks me up.
father start onto the field. His there. I want everybody to He hugs me and says, “I am
wife clutched his wrist and know that you are my son.” so proud of you! You were great
said, “Jim, don’t. You’ll em- “Daddy,” the boy sobbed, out there. I want everybody to
barrass him.” “I couldn’t stop them. I tried, know that you are My child. And
But the boy’s father tore Daddy, I tried and tried and because I control the outcome
loose from her and ran onto they scored on me.” of the game I declare you the
the field. He wasn’t supposed “Scotty, it doesn’t matter winner!”
to, for the game was still in how many times they score —Author unknown

ho then can ever keep Christ’s love from us? When we have trouble or
calamity, when we are hunted down or destroyed, is it because He doesn’t
love us anymore? And if we are hungry or penniless or in danger or threat-
ened with death, has God deserted us? No, despite all this, overwhelming victory is
ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. For I am convinced that
nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels
won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for
today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the
deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God dem-
onstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when He died for us.
—The Bible, Romans 8:35, 37–39 TLB

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