Right after the Dallas Mavericks won game two of the NBA finals last night a sport’s writer for ESPN wrote, “The greatest comeback in NBA Finals history.”  Wow.  

I would have turned it off.  With minutes left in the game the Mavs were down by fifteen.  They looked like they had just decided to put all of their energy on hold for the next game.  Even though they had lead for most of the game it looked like “Big Mo” was all on the side of the Miami Heat. 

But I didn’t turn it off.

I didn’t turn it off because I had made that mistake a couple of weeks ago when the Mavs were way behind.  It looked like it was over and I turned off the TV and opened a book.  An hour or so later I opened up my Facebook page and was met with status updates like, “Wow”, “Way to go Mavs, we knew you could do it.”  That’s right.  I missed some exciting basketball and a win.

So this time I did not turn it off.  Why?  There was hope.  This team had a history of coming back when it looked like there was no way.  They are a veteran team and had experienced persevering through to a victory.

Confident hope is developed through the experience of discipline and perseverance.  It’s not the kind of “I hope I win the lottery” hope.  Its a knowing hope that only comes through a process of character building.   Just a note.  This kind of success is not always achieved by coming out ahead on the scoreboard.  You can win but not really win.  Real winning is coming out better after the contest than you were before you began.  Success is also processing through and building character through a loss or a disappointment. 

The Bible teaches us that this process of discipline and perseverance is how we grow our faith.  The apostle Paul wrote that when the going gets tough its an opportunity to strengthen your character and develop your hope.  And the hope that comes through developing our faith will never disappoint.  Rom 5:3-5

God will often hold back on us to grow us.  He will let us go through situations that test our faith in order to make us stronger.  I know of many Christians who have turned the game off and missed a win.  

And the more you experience quitting, the more you will quit.  Get some wins under your belt.  Don’t just try and quit.  Train and push through.

The Bigger your faith the bigger your God and the more exciting and satisfying the game.