Friday night lights.
What do you do when your game is away and you are a 35 point underdog?
When your opponent is intimidating?
When every player on the other team is stronger and faster?
You play the game.
You keep your head up.
You do what is right in the right way.
You help your opponent get up when he is on the ground.
You know that the scoreboard doesn't show all the ways to lose and win.
Courage makes it possible to go through a game you are likely to lose. And, to go through it well.
It takes more courage to do what is right and do it the right way when the foe is dangerous.
It takes courage to let God walk you through it and to give the results to Him.
Courage comes from seeing more than the scoreboard and listening to voices other than those against you.
It comes from seeing the unseen, from knowing there is more to life than the game we see and its score.
The writer of Hebrews tells about some game winners in chapter eleven, "And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets--who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promised, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight."
But, he also tells about those who lost in this world: "Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated--of whom the world was not worthy--wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth."
Whether they won on the scoreboard we can see or not, here is what they knew: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation."
"And, without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."
Knowing that God rewards and gives commendation because of faith gives our children the courage to play the ugly game.
Keeping the long term perspective, knowing that doing the right things the right way is more important than the score you can see, our children can face monsters. Keeping their heads up. Showing God's grace and strength in life, no matter what the crowd does or the scoreboard says. Becoming winners for eternity with God's pleasure.
Sometimes there are only two options: run away or face monsters. If we run, we never win, on the scoreboard or for eternity. If we face monsters, sometimes we defeat them, sometimes we don't. But, we always win God's good pleasure when we do the right things, the right way, by faith.