September 2, 2016

Don’t give up — down by two with 60 seconds left

By Chaplain (Capt.) David Jenkins
Nellis AFB, Nev.

A few months ago, I witnessed something I thought I would have never seen in my life-time. A professional sports team from Cleveland, Ohio, won a championship!

The 52-year curse was lifted or the “mistake by the lake is a mistake” no longer. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I am native northeastern Ohioan and a big sports fan.

The Cleveland Cavaliers winning the 2016 National Basketball Association championship was nothing short of miraculous. At one point they were down three to one in a – best of seven – series playing the next game on their opponent’s court.

To survive they had to win every remaining game. If they had another bad night and lost, then it was over. They faced a tremendous adversity and no one thought they could win. In fact, no team in NBA history had ever achieved such an amazing comeback in the finals.

Others have come back from a three to one but none in a championship. In fact, Golden State had just completed such a comeback in their previous series with the Thunder! They had been only the tenth team ever to do it in any series.

Cleveland returned the favor quickly with being the 11th team ever, and first to do so in the championship. With the adversity being steep, the Cavaliers pushed through, believed in one another, refused to listen to the naysayers and won it all!

This is a great story not just because the Cavs are my team (which only makes it better), but because they never gave up. In our world today it is very tempting to give up and quit at times. When we give up, though, we lose out on the opportunity to be overcomers. In addition we miss out on the growth that occurs in our character when we work on and solve our problems.

Of course, everyone one has issues. It should be no secret to anyone in the Air Force that life is hard. At times it can feel downright hopeless and depressing. Nevertheless, in times of difficulty and trial, we must resist the temptation to give up.

Frankly, adversity is prerequisite to growth and the beginning of greatness. There really is no other way to it.

Those who find a way to push through adversity can relish in their success and even become heroes. When things are darkest it is the hero who perseveres and shines. Heroes give us all hope. Since they have made it when the odds were heavily stacked against them, we too can make it.

Speaking from a chaplain’s perspective I am hoping and praying that the Airmen under my care will never give up. The Nellis Chapel Team is here for your encouragement and to help find the good and the hope in your adversity.

We are here to serve you and we especially want to help you when life is hardest. We want to help you be the heroes you already are for your country. If you need someone to talk to or can use some encouragement, then please look us up.  We live and work in the same areas as you and under the same pressures in real life.

Chaplains and chaplain assistants have all faced times in our own lives when we were down by two with 60 seconds to go and have had all the cards stacked against us. We haven’t won them all, but we have won enough to be certain that there is always a path toward hope.

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