Thursday, March 6, 2008

Win, Lose, or Draw

Hello fight fans,

Many of you know that our second son, Chris "The Professor" Wilson is a professional mixed martial arts fighter. (For more information about him check out the link on this page to his website.)

This past Saturday night, March 1st, he fought arguably the toughest opponent of his career up until now. He went up against Jon Fitch, a highly publicized welterweight fighter (170 lbs.), in UFC 82, "Pride of a Champion." The fight was on pay-per-view and was broadcast all around the world. Chris fought very well and the fight went the distance, which meant that the winner had to be determined by the judges. Contrary to our opinion of how it should have turned out, the judges awarded the fight to Jon Fitch.

That night we had a house full of friends and relatives all glued to the wide-screen TV set, eating Papa Murphy's Pizza and shouting like crazed lunatics. I bit the bullet and ordered the pay-per-view feed in High Definition for $54.95. Now you know I'm crazy! We felt every blow landed, all the way from Columbus, Ohio.

As you can imagine, we were hoping that Chris would win the bout. It would have been great for his career and a fun upset because he was clearly considered the underdog. Chris took the fight at short notice because the UFC promoters were having trouble finding anyone else who had the nerve to meet Fitch in the ring. Chris' name is not yet well-known to fans east of the Rockies, but we knew that this fight would change all that, win, lose, or draw. We knew that no matter how the fight turned out his name would suddenly be known by millions of people around the world because of the wide television coverage of this competition. And that is exactly what happened.

Chris flew back home to Portland on Sunday afternoon. I called him up about 6PM, and he was feeling discouraged about the outcome of the fight. He really wanted to win it and was disappointed with his own performance. Like many of us, he struggles with perfectionist tendencies and is often his own worst critic. I tried to encourage and let him know that he had done a great job, and that we were all very proud of his performance, his courage, and his sportsmanship. I think it helped a little.

Today as I was thinking about Chris and my other two kids, Jonathan and Simoni, I got to thinking about the fact that in my mind all three of them are champions, win, lose, or draw. My love and appreciation for them is not based on whether or not they achieve "success" according to the world's measuring stick. Their value to me is not based on image or performance, but upon relationship. They are my kids and I love them dearly--win, lose, or draw.

That's how God feels about His kids too. He loves us unconditionally. He wants us to win in life's battles and He has given us the tools we need to do that, but His love toward us is not affected by how many bouts we win or lose.

Every child of God has played the prodigal at one time or another and has brought tears to the Father's eyes. I certainly have. Moreover, I occasionally brought tears to the eyes of my parents. Yet their love for me never wavered. My three children have all caused me some anxious moments and gray hairs, but when I look at them my dad smile starts deep down inside me and makes its way clear up to my face, because in my book they are winners--win, lose, or draw. They are my kids and I love them.

God's love is like that too. He is not an angry Father, always looking at His children's imperfections, filth, and failures. Instead, He sees us as clean and perfect and complete in Christ. He smiles when He looks at His kids. I hope that thought brightens your day, lifts your chin, and quickens your step.

Crazy, still crazy

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