Read John 16:19-33.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”
Two blocked kicks, three turnovers, a spate of penalties, a wild dog, and an inflatable Elvis. The Tide overcame them all to win the 1995 Citrus Bowl.
On Jan. 2, Alabama defeated Ohio State 24-17 with a surprising offensive show that rolled up a season-high 521 yards. Senior quarterback Jay Barker completed 18 of 37 passes for 317 yards and no interceptions. Game MVP Sherman Williams set an Alabama bowl record with 166 yards rushing. He scored two touchdowns and accounted for 359 yards with his rushing, receiving, and kickoff returns.
All of this sounds like the Tide pulled off the win like a well-oiled machine. The game was, in fact, pretty much a mess with sluggish play, penalties, blocked kicks, and fumbles. A dog ran onto the field and delayed the game for five minutes, giving quite a good chase to some harried security guards. A 30-foot inflatable Elvis used for the halftime extravaganza likewise refused to leave the field. The second-half kickoff was delayed while the hunk of burning love was deflated.
Late in the game, the Tide had one more obstacle to overcome: a 17-14 Ohio State lead. At this point, the game suddenly turned crisp. Michael Proctor’s field goal with 4:27 left tied the game. Then Williams took a short Barker pass and turned it into a game-winning 50-yard touchdown with only 42 seconds left.
When cornerback Tommy Johnson intercepted a Buckeye pass in the end zone on the game’s last play, the Tide had overcome the opposition, its own mistakes, Elvis, and the dog to do what Alabama does best: win.
We each have a choice to make about how we live. We can merely survive or we can overcome as the Crimson Tide does.
We often hear inspiring stories of people who triumph by overcoming especially daunting obstacles. Those barriers may be physical or mental disabilities or great personal tragedies or injustice. When we hear of them, we may well respond with a little prayer of thanksgiving that life has been kinder to us.
But all people of faith, no matter how drastic the obstacles they face, must ultimately overcome the same opponent: the Satan-infested world. Some do have it tougher than others, but we all must fight daily to remain confident and optimistic.
To survive from day to day is to give up by surrendering our trust in God’s involvement in our daily life. To overcome, however, is to stand up to the world and fight its temptations that would erode the armor of our faith in Jesus Christ.
Today is a day to overcome by remaining faithful. The very hosts of Heaven wait to hail the conquering hero.
A good team finds a way to win games, and that’s what Alabama did. -- Ohio State Coach John Cooper after the Citrus Bowl
Life’s difficulties provide us a chance to experience the true joy of victory in Jesus.