Monday, October 19, 2015

A Cubs Fan: Suffering, Waiting, and Hoping

Today's post is written by guest blogger Rex Butts. You can follow his [usually non-sports related]\ blog at

It was 1984. I was only eleven years old. That’s when I became a Cubs fan… a long suffering Cubs fan.

Of course, I had no idea of the disappointment I was in for. I didn’t understand that the Cubs had not been to the World Series since 1945 and not won that championship since 1908. I knew nothing about the curse of the billygoat. I didn’t know that the Cubs missed the playoffs in 1969 after giving up a 10 game division lead over the “Amazing” Mets by losing 17 of their last 25 games. But I would learn in time… in 1989.
                          In 1998.
                                           Again in 2003.
                                                                       And again in 2007 and 2008.

Now it’s 2015 and the Cubs are once again in the playoffs. They’ve already beat the Pirates in a one game face-off, followed by beating their arch rivals, the Cardinals, in the Division series. According to some sources, the Cubs are actually the favorites to win the World Series this year.

Can they?

Of course, they can, if can out pitch their opponents, get clutch hitting, and play excellent defense. But my history as a die-hard Cubs fan has me waiting for another black cat, another Steve Bartman, or just some colossal error resulting in another year of getting this close only to be disappointed again… only left to “wait til’ next year” once again.

This suffering, waiting, and hoping as a Cubs fan may be metaphorical of the Christian life that suffers.

As a young adult I lost my father, first child, and then my younger brother in the span of ten years. Death is part of my narrative. For others, it might be chronic illness, a failing marriage, an addiction of some sort, or a plethora of other troubles that bring disappointment, grief, and pain. Faith in Christ believes that one day the suffering will be no more but until that day, we continue waiting with disappointment.

It’s been twelve years since my son Kenny died but just a week ago I was reminded of the disappointment, grief, and pain as I read the story of another family whose baby died. Someone else is struggling again with depression, or relapsing as an alcoholic, or has had their cancer return.

            More disappointment, more grief, and more pain! 

Christians who suffer wait with anticipation for the day when it will be no more. It’s called hope! The difference here is Jesus Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul reminds us that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection of the dead. In other words, the future is known in the resurrected Jesus Christ because his resurrection is the promise of hope that his followers share in his victory. Thus Paul appropriately says, But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57, NIV).

So while I remain a suffering Cubs fan, waiting and hoping but never sure, by faith in Christ I know that one day the wait will be over!