Last night as much of the nation slept, the United States women’s ice hockey team battled Canada for Olympic gold. If you’re unfamiliar with the history between the US and Canada, to call it a rivalry would be an understatement. Since the introduction of women’s hockey into the Winter Olympics in 1998, these two nations have battled for a gold medal five out of six times. The Americans captured their first gold in Nagano in 1998, but Canada has claimed victory in every Games since.
The athletes on these teams sacrifice and dedicate four years at a time towards the outcome of one single game—one single-elimination game where either their wildest dreams are fulfilled or simply shattered. One game where years of pursuit come to fruition, or seem, at the moment, to be utterly wasted.
The beauty of the Olympic Games is that before our very eyes, we as spectators have the privilege of watching these dreams become reality. The joy of sharing in a hope realized is exhilarating. It sends shivers down our spines and speeds the beating of our hearts. And when we know how great the stakes are—a twenty year wait, an entire lifetime of dreaming, straining, and striving—the taste of victory is that much sweeter.
I think that one of God’s greatest gifts to us is the opportunity to experience moments in life that burst at the seams with joy. Moments that fill our hearts to overflowing and make our souls soar. Yet these moments, while exhilarating, are indeed just moments. They are fleeting. But they fill us with a desire for more.
The exhilaration of a moment like this comes as close as anything to satisfying us at a deep level. But this moment alone will not satisfy for long. We need it again. And again.
C.S. Lewis identified this reality when he said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
Contrasted with the brokenness of our world, these moments seem to break through into our dreariness and weariness like rays of sunshine through a cloudy winter sky.
I’ve been reminded lately in Scripture of the incredible security and promise of the hope of heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. The hope of true and lasting victory over brokenness and sin that will one day be fully realized. A true, heart-bursting, joy-filling promise that will one day become a reality for those who trust in the sacrifice of the resurrected Jesus as atonement for our sins.
Thank you, Team USA—and everyone else that sacrificed the last four years to give us just another small, earthly taste of the inexpressible and glorious joy that we will experience when our faith becomes sight. Our faith, which is “of greater worth than gold” (1 Peter 1:7).