Soccer games are won by a small difference (often just one goal), so after Clint Dempsey skated through an ill-prepared Ghana defense to score after 34 seconds of playing time, it looked like the U.S. settled back into defensive positions and tried to hold on to their slim lead — for another 90 minutes.
It was a formula for disaster. Onslaught after Ghana onslaught came at them. The U.S. scrambled and batted away every ball tenaciously until late in the second half, they could hold Fort Apache no more. With some tricky maneuvers, Ghana unlocked the back line and drilled home to tie.
U.S. fans groaned. Now we would probably settle for a draw, worth only 1 point in FIFA’s scheme for figuring who advances out of the group stage. With powerhouses Germany and Portugal looming ahead, U.S. was pretty much packing its bags up.
Then the unthinkable happened. A SUBSTITUTE came on and scored a header off a corner with four minutes from time. Ghana’s defensive line probably didn’t even bother to mark him. Why worry? He was only a reserve in case someone got hurt. John Brooks breathed new life into U.S. chances of proceeding forward in World Cup rounds.
Too often the U.S. strategy resembles the church’s: just barely try to win. Just barely try to make it to Heaven. Just maintain what the church has gained in previous years. Don’t try too hard. How much sin can I get away with and still make it to Heaven?
We need to press ahead for another goal. Pray. Outreach. Study the Bible. You can relax when you get to Heaven.