A shocking bit of news in the world of sports went largely unnoticed this afternoon. ESPN didn’t run the story and you probably won’t find an in-depth report on the pages of Sports Illustrated, but it’s sort of a big deal. You see, today I officially retired from fantasy football. I know, I know, only a few short weeks ago on this blog I went on and on about how much I loved this hallowed, so-called sport, this make-believe clash of nerdy couch potatoes; but alas, I’m calling it quits. I’m hanging up my fake headset and my pretend whistle. I’m stepping off the phony sidelines and out of the artificial stadium for the last time. Some of my colleagues have seen this decision coming for weeks now. I’ve been going through a slump of discouraging losses that have turned a fun little game into a weekly, Internet homework assignment I just can’t be bothered to turn in. In short, I’m over it. I wish I could say that it has nothing to do with the fact that I should have been really good this year and wasn’t, but hey, let’s face it, that’s pretty much what it boils down to.
And to be even more childish, I blame it all on one guy… Chris Johnson. Now, I love the Tennessee Titans and I love Chris Johnson as a person; and if we ever met I’d want to be friends, (especially because he could crush me) but in the realm of fake sports, he has sadly let me down. I drafted last year’s most dominant pro football player because he promised to have another 2,500 yard season. Coupled with Tom Brady, I should have been competitive every week with only two of my players, but CJ has been a total bust. The player that broke records and dropped jaws in 2009 assured the world he would have an even more brilliant and memorable season in 2010, but those promises haven’t been fulfilled. I’m still waiting on him to have even one really great week. This disappointment of unfulfilled promises has basically become too much to handle in what my wife calls my “fantasy world.” So, thanks to Chris Johnson, I’m walking away with only one imaginary Super Bowl ring.
Unfulfilled promises can be one of life’s most devastating realities. Someone promises us something, we believe them and so we start to get our hopes up. When the promised something doesn’t come through, we find that the expectation of that promise has become in our minds a guarantee we have banked upon, planned on and feel entitled to. This let down is worse than if we had never wanted whatever it was in the first place. The other day I was reading Luke 1 and thinking about Mary who received promises from Almighty God at the hands of Gabriel, one of the Lord’s blazing, eternal messengers. When I read those familiar words again, something struck me… Aside from mentioning the pregnancy and birth, Gabriel didn’t really go into any detail about all of the vast struggles and problems this heavenly assignment was going to bring Mary’s way. In fact, the stuff Gabriel talked about was all sounding pretty awesome!
“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. ”
Look at that! Her baby would be called great and become a King and sit enthroned forever and ever! And then this thought struck me with a dull thud: Mary is still waiting on those promises to be fulfilled. 2,000 years later, Mary, who endured so much toil and heartbreak is still waiting on the joyful fulfillment of the promises God made to her when she was but a teenager! Wow. And so it is for those who walk with God. This life winds up being harder than we thought it would be for longer than we ever dreamed it could be. But that’s not the end of this story, because God is faithful. He will fulfill every word Gabriel spoke to little Mary. It may not be for another 2,000 years or even more, but it will happen, and when it does, not only Mary’s, but all our dreams will come true forever and ever.