In 1986, on a brutally cold day in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Bartlett high school boys basketball team entered the arena to play for a State Title. Their opponent was the vaunted, favored and formidable team from East High. Bartlett’s coaches were nervous. I know, I was one of them. Could we beat the East press? Could we avoid the half court trap? If so, we would win. We had the better team, we thought. We had narrowly beaten this same East squad just a couple of weeks prior. They would be back with renewed passion and determination. It was going to be close, a narrow victory, a game of seconds on the clock. Who would prevail?
Boom! (imagine the deep pulse of a kettle drum. It is the sound of something coming that cannot be stopped. Get out of it’s way!) Boom! (louder, the building shakes,) Bartlett! What the coaches did not know was our team was confident, certain, unafraid. This was no contest. They were going to blast these guys! Roll ’em up, swat them aside, it was a shame that poor East was required to play this game. They warmed up prior to the game with a swagger, mocking their opponents for thinking (as they had) they were the best team in the State. Boom!…. Boom!….. BARTLETT!
The margin of victory was about 18 points which in the shorter game of high school basketball is a monstrous blow out. Bartlett slashed through the East press like fire on tissue paper and the half court trap closed on empty air because the guards didn’t stop at half court. The boys were right. The victory was inevitable. Roll the kettle drums, Bartlett is here.
Sometimes when I am uncertain or depressed or anxious, I have forgotten the kettle drums. The immense power of the Living God is at work. He is irresistible. His plan is unfolding, His will is expanding, He has been acting and when the moment arrives, IT IS FINISHED! BOOM!
It is an exhilarating feeling to have supported the team that wins, to have a part in the victory. Even when we know we will win, there is always a hint of fear and uncertainty until the final second. God has allowed us the privilege to play on His team, to have a part in His ultimate dominion over mankind. We have watched His opponents hold sway, we have heard His name mocked, His intricate revelation (the Bible) disparaged. It is easy to fall into despair and think, …game over. Game isn’t over. Hear the kettle drums? They are warming up.
Revelation 19 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (NASB)