Summary: An Easter Sermon looking at the greatest comeback of all times.
The World’s Greatest Comeback
We all love a good comeback story. A story about those who have been beaten down, overwhelmed, and who have come out of nowhere, out of obscurity and hopeless conditions to beat the odds.
The king of the comeback has to be Abraham Lincoln. Here’s a man who had less than three years of formal education and failed in two business ventures. He was twice elected to public office, but was defeated eight times. But then He made the political comeback of all times when he was elected as the 16th President of the United States.
In the business world Chrysler Corporation takes the prize as one of the biggest comebacks.
• After posting a 17 million dollar profit in its first year in 1924, and then remaining viable throughout the Great Depression, in 1979 financial problems threatened its existence.
• They hired Lee Iacocca from Ford and with the help of the Federal Government secured a 1.5 billion dollar loan and tax incentives. They introduced several new cars including the now famous or infamous mini-van, and brought back the convertible.
• So strong was their comeback they repaid their loan in three years, purchased American Motors, the maker of Jeep and the fourth largest car manufacturer in the U.S., and they also merged with Daimler-Benz, best known for it’s Mercedes Benz
• Now that’s a comeback story.
In the sports world there are two that stand out. The first was tennis star Andre Agassi. Actually he came back twice. He entered tennis with a head full of hair and a flair for winning.
• But in 1993 he underwent surgery, which dropped him out of the rankings. But in 1994 he entered the U.S open and won, and then in 1995 he won the Australian Open making him the number two player in the world.
• He dropped again out of the rankings only to come back in 1999, without hair this time and won the one Grand Slam title that eluded him, the French Open, and earned the number one ranking in the world. He was the first of two to win the Career Golden Slam.
And there are those Cubbies, that is, the Chicago Cubs. Before winning the 2016 World Series, the last time they won was back in 1908, that’s a 108 year drought, the longest in major North American sports.
Each of these comebacks was truly remarkable. But why do we love to see such comebacks? I think it’s because they give us hope. They bring a glimmer of light into the darkness of our self-doubt.
These comebacks say that our present condition, our past and present failures might not be the end of our stories; that maybe a comeback is looming somewhere in our future. They encourage us to rise above the setbacks in life.
I’d like to look at two qualities that those who experienced a comeback possessed.
1. They Didn’t Give Up
They didn’t fold up their tents and go home. They didn’t fade into the background. Instead they continued to persevere. And the same should be true for us. We need to persevere though the trials that assail our lives.
The Apostle Paul tells us,
But the question is “why.” Why keep standing strong? Why keep rejoicing when all seems hopeless? Why should we be strong in trials that never seem to end? Why pray when it doesn’t seem to be doing any good?
The answer lies in a truism best summed up by King David who was himself a great comeback story knowing the heartache of being on top one moment and running for his life the next.
“His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 NKJV)
The prophet Jeremiah says the reason joy comes, even in the most difficult of times, is because God’s mercies are always new towards us. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Even in the harshest times, God’s mercy and grace will being joy. To say it another way, in the darkest tunnel there’s always a light at the end, and it’s not an oncoming train; rather it’s the light of God showing us the way.
2. They Did What Was Needed
The story of the Prodigal Son is probably the best at describing this point. In this parable the youngest of two sons asks his father for his inheritance early, and then begins to spiral downward. He spent his money on a sinful lifestyle and soon found himself broke and working as a hired hand feeding pigs and wishing he could eat their slop.