When things just don’t go our way
A couple of decades ago, the British rock band, Chumbawamba, released a song that included the lyrics, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down…”
This song became quite popular and eventually reached No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Along with a catchy beat, the song’s lyrics portray a real-life battle between struggle and perseverance. As one band member stated, the song was written about “the resilience of ordinary people.”
Perhaps, we as ‘ordinary people’ relate to such songs and to other people dealing with battles because struggle is very personal to us. Sympathy for others is invoked within us when we see brokenness or heartache amongst our fellow human beings, because we, too, have walked or are walking that road.
Of course, the opposite can be true as well. We tend to like watching a train wreck. If someone’s life is going off the rails, particularly a public figure or someone we deem has it coming to them, it can be just as intriguing to us to watch them get knocked down.
At time of writing, the St. Louis Blues are battling the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals where the victor will go on to face the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup. Perhaps by the time you read this, the Blues will have already advanced; if not then you know that the Sharks have forced a series-deciding game 7.
Like the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967, the Blues have never won since they were formed in 1967. They are tied with the Leafs for the longest winless streak.
A cousin of mine, Jake Allen, is the current back-up goaltender for the Blues.
Prior to this season, however, Jake was their starting goalie. He had been chosen 34th in the 2008 draft, and became a regular in the lineup in 2014-15. He was Canada’s goalie when they won gold in 2008 at the World Junior U18 tournament; he was also Canada’s netminder when they won silver at the 2009 World Juniors.
Besides these medals, Jake has won the Jacques Plante Trophy as goalie of the year in the QMJHL for 2009–10, and was Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award winner as the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Outstanding Goaltender for the 2013–14 season.
Jake has been both the goalie of the future and of the present for the Blues.
However, this year, at the age of 28, he has been replaced as the team’s starting goalie by a rookie; a guy who has played every playoff game for the team, but had never started in the NHL prior to January. I can imagine that this is not how Jake had envisioned his year going. What this means for his future, one can only speculate.
I understand that it can be hard for us to have empathy for someone who is playing a game and is earning millions of dollars doing so; yet the reality is that hockey players, like all of us, are just ‘ordinary people’ at the end of the day.
When things don’t go our way or as we had planned, it can be very rough. We might seek out counselling, take time off from work or our normal schedules or, if none of those options are available, we simply might just persevere and push on.
While advice from others and down time are great options, I believe that at the core foundation, we need to understand that during our train wrecks of life, there is a God who cares about us. He provides for those who look for Him.
In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 it’s declared, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
God knows that we will face trouble. Life doesn’t always work out the way we want.
But that same chapter goes on to remind us that our circumstances need not define us: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
The power and hope to overcome defeat come from God. If you are facing hard days, do not lose heart. Look to the One who is unseen, and is able to renew us day by day. Look to Jesus.