Watching the European Championships with Italian friends was a great experience! More so since they also won against the side that many thought would go on to win the Championship – Germany.

As usual the Italians did not start well and I could sense my friends becoming a bit tense in the fist period of the game. A few defensive butterflies were making it a bit of a nervous start to our evening around the table.

And then – they scored – against the run of play quite definitely – but then these are Italians and logic and reason do not really feature in their thinking very often. They are artists and vagabonds who just love to do the unexpected. And that was just what they did – not only once but twice!!

So 2-0 against Germany after only 39 minutes or so!! How amazing! Now you would think that if Scotland were 2-0 against Germany after this time (apart from the fact that this will NEVER happen) you would be celebrating as you had never celebrated before! At the very least you would be thinking that barring a miracle you could win this. Strangely though my Italian friends began to get very nervous and could not wait for the end of the first half. And when that came they began to talk about how difficult the 2nd half would be!!

They are the most unlikely champions in any sport I think as they do not really have faith in their abilities. They do however have the spark of genius – just when you think they have nothing to give they come up with 2 great goals. My friends however really made an impression on me with their pre-occupation with the result despite the advantage they had after less than 40minutes. They became more and more agitated as the game went on especially towards the end and when Germany were awarded a penalty (which wasn’t a penalty!!) they reached a fever pitch of anxiety and were already talking about what would happen if it was penalties at the end.

I was struck by the similarities there are between this situation and my own as a disciple of Jesus. Even when He has given me the victory in something in my life I become anxious as time passes and I see the size of the giants of life before me!! How easy it is to get agitated and nervous and often lose the place in life. Then when injustice steps in and steals a bit of my victory away I get angry (just like Buffon was when he left the pitch last night) at the injustice and forget that I do in fact have the victory in Him.

I would not have expected to have received this lesson while watching a game of football in Italy but God has a way of using the most usual things for teaching us more about Him.


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