The word “Underdog” is defined as a competitor thought to have no chance of winning a fight or contest.
Many folks including myself can relate to that word-underdog. And right now, there’s a basketball team that was seeded #15 in the NCAA Basketball Tournament and is now competing in the Sweet 16. Underdog, that’s the word they’ve been called by many of the media too.
I remember when I was a boy riding in the car with my parents in Tulsa, we would drive by that college that’s now in the Sweet 16. It’s name is Oral Roberts University. I always thought the buildings looked cool and the prayer tower was powerful as the fire was burning at the top of it. I wanted my faith to be like that flame. But what struck me the most, was seeing the giant statue of the Praying Hands at the front of the college. It was a statement. Prayer, that’s another thing underdogs can identify with. We know what it’s like to live on one.
In fact, if you’ve followed the news this week, you’ll notice that many of the media think this ORU Basketball team has been living on a prayer and also due to their upholding of Christian beliefs, many in the media have asked the team be banned from the rest of the tournament. What a platform the Oral Roberts Men’s Basketball Team now has to not only hold fast to their prayers, but to show the world why standing up for their faith in God speaks louder than a statue.
It’s no secret the world has been moving to usher in the Cancel Culture. We shun people for not fitting in a certain societal agenda. We have cancelled everything from cartoon characters, food labels, books, toy figures, sports teams, and more! And now the world is trying to cancel a basketball team for standing for biblical truth. Oh Help us Lord!
But as we’ve sparred over cancelling Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head, and whatever comes next, we’ve allowed filthy shows to fill our TV screens. We’ve allowed profanity to consume our vocabulary. We’ve allowed our phones to be irreplaceable and our church attendance to be utterly dismal. We’ve allowed our Texting Plan to be Unlimited, but our Prayer Plan to be Limited. We’ve allowed ourselves to follow what makes us happy, instead following the Only One who can make us Holy!
I’ve shed a few tears as I’ve written this tonight, because I am convicted too. I’ve realized that we are all just like the ORU Men’s Basketball Team: an underdog, who has no chance of winning in the world’s eyes. But what makes the underdog successful isn’t what stats are in the books, or how many jump shots ORU can make. ORU can win the entire tournament and still lose eternity. Instead, the only way the underdog can win, is through Jesus Christ alone. Because even the world thought Jesus had no chance of winning, but then 3 days later, He won it all!!!
We should all want to be like the ORU Basketball Team! I hope that as this “Cancel Culture” steps closer to us, that the world will see our strong faith, our rising flame for God, and our praying hands, and because of what they see, they will say, “Let’s ban them.” I want my faith to be so big, that the world wants me banned. Because they can ban you on social media, they can ban you from sports, they can ban you from competing in an NCAA Tournament, but brother and sister, they cannot ban your faith! Keep your faith alive in Jesus’s Name, no matter what! Even though the Sweet 16 is sure sweet, it cannot compare to the sweetness of knowing Jesus and getting the chance to honor Him! Thank the Lord He doesn’t give up on Underdogs! Go Golden Eagles! Stand firm in your faith. Through that, you are bringing home more than a title, you are bringing glory to God’s Name! Praise the Lord! #ORU #GoldenEagles #NCAA #Underdogs #PrayingHands 🙏
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
-John 15:18-19 (NIV)