A little blessing changes everything

"We're on a one-game winning streak!" That's what freshman Dawan Boxley said after his basketball team, the Rutgers-Camden Pioneers, beat Bloomfield College 77 to 72, snapping a five-year, 117-game losing streak. Imagine losing every game for five years. How depressing that must have been for the team, the coach, and the entire school. But what a joy when that buzzer sounded and game 118 turned out differently.

Despite the thick book of gloomy stats, the jokes, and the humiliating ridicule, at least one tongue kept repeating, "That was then. This is now." At least one person's brain imagined a victory celebration. Someone's heart soared upward, piercing the dark clouds to reach the sunshine. No doubt after the game with Bloomfield, that person was running around, slapping pessimists' backs and shouting, "You see? I knew we could do it!" And game 119 will have 10-fold more believers.

What a difference one success makes! Have you ever experienced it? I have! Things keep going wrong that ought to go right. Your hopes get dashed again and again. You want to quit, but quitting would just pile another failure on the rest. You look for the light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel has caved in. Like Paul, you cry out, "What a wretched person I am! Who will deliver me?" Like the psalmist, you scream, "Where are you, God? Will you forget me forever?"

Then a blessing comes. Not necessarily a big one, but big enough for you to recognize the stark contrast between its sparkle and all the dullness around it. "Thank you, Lord!" you whisper. "I'm sorry I doubted you. Please forgive me for being bitter." So begins your one-game winning streak. "We are hard pressed, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Cor. 4:8-9). God has so arranged our destiny that if we don't quit, if we don't give up, we'll be winners.

—Steve Singleton