Summer Devotional and Sermon Series
Week 9/Heroes: Joseph
In the Monday devotion on Isaac I mentioned putting things up on my office wall that would inspire me. Among a few crosses and plaques, I have two posters. Each from the front page of the Detroit Free Press celebrating a champion. One for the ‘84 Tigers and one for the ‘97 Detroit Redwings. The Tigers poster is not meant to rub it into Padres fans. It is the first team that I remember rallying around as a kid. That season was magical. They started 35-5, finished with 104 wins and cruised to a division championship and World Series title. Jack Morris pitched a no-hitter. That year everything clicked for the team. Tom Monaghan, the brand new owner, must have thought, “This is easy!” They made the playoffs again in 1987 with disappointing results and by 1989 they had 103 losses. They wouldn’t sniff the playoffs again until 2006.
The ‘97 Redwings however was the pinnacle moment of an already really, really good team, that finally learned how to win championships. These guys raised expectations of Detroit fans every year with dynamic offense that blew opponents away. They racked up regular season wins. But when the playoffs came, they didn’t have the grit and toughness of mind to succeed when the intensity and focus of other teams grew. The Coach/GM got rid of some all style no substance players and threatened to get rid of their best player and captain. They changed strategies. More sacrifice was demanded for the sake of the team. More defense. They limped through the regular season. They had a lot of valleys and adversity leaving fans to wonder if this was going to work. What was happening was that this team, from the captain down, was being remolded into a team first, cohesive, tough unit, starting with the captain according to the coach’s vision. When the playoffs started they crushed everyone. Then they did at again the next season. They made the playoffs for 25 straight seasons–third best all time in professional sports. They had four championships. All with the same vision.
As human beings we often want things to go like the ‘84 Tigers where it felt so easy. God rarely works that way. That’s why I have the poster of the ‘97 Redwings in my office. What matters is not our vision but God’s vision. God’s vision will require faith, trust, and sacrifice. For Joseph to get to the right place at the right time, there had to be the valleys of his brothers’ anger, being a slave, going to prison, to develop him and get him ready for the moment when it came It was all part of a grander vision.