It’s no secret that I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. I realize that right off the bat (get it? “right off the bat”… okay, back on track) some people may stop reading at this point, but I promise it will be worth your time to keep going.

One of the huge things the Cardinals have shown in the last two seasons is that you can’t give up. You have to push forward to the end. Down to their last strike in an elimination Game 6, on the verge of watching the Rangers celebrate their first World Series championship in St. Louis, the Cardinals battled back, tying the game, forcing extra innings. The scenario repeated itself an inning later, with a similar result. Finally, David Freese hit a home run in the bottom of the 12th to send the series to a deciding Game 7, which was also won by the home team.

On Friday night, it was déjà vu all over again. After three innings, the Cardinals found themselves facing a six-run deficit, a lead that no team had ever given up in a deciding playoff game. Down 7-5 in Washington, the Cardinals were once again down to their final strike. Four runs later, they held a two-run lead and were on their way to San Francisco for the National League Championship series.

What’s so special about this team? They never give up. People have called it miraculous, incredible and unbelievable. Some have said that it is unprecedented. And, in the baseball world, perhaps it is. However, this kind of persistence is seen elsewhere. It is seen in the unrelenting love of God.

One of the most amazing things about Scripture is how the Israelites are constantly turning away from God. They go their own way. They worship idols. They ignore God every chance they get, but He never gives up on them. No matter how bleak the storyline gets, you just know in the back of your mind that God’s not done yet. The same is true today.

Do you ever feel like you’ve gone too far? That you’ve messed up beyond redemption? Here’s the good news: God hasn’t give up on you. You may think you are down to the last strike, but that just means there is still time to stage a comeback. God is all about the comeback story. Jesus died… and came back. Guess that means there is still time for you too.

At Smith Valley UMC, part of our mission is To Follow Jesus. So, what do you say? Are you going to just let that last strike pass you by, or are you going to make a comeback as well. Through the grace of God, our story isn’t over yet.  Jesus died on the cross so that your past mistakes don’t have to define you.