"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (do not give up)." Galatians 6:9
I have been a Suns fans since the early 80s and, unfortunately, they became my favorite team when they were not very good. I remember the season ending with no playoffs at all. I remember being bounced in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers. I remember the Suns trading my favorite player to the Cleveland Cavaliers for some guys named Kevin Johnson and Mark West. I remember the drug scandal that involved several players and led to sweeping changes in the organization and player personnel. I remember going to some games with little fanfare and the place seem like a sad house instead of the “Madhouse on McDowell”. I remember the Suns getting better in the late 80s with the same Kevin Johnson and Mark West. I remember going to a playoff game for my birthday and the Madhouse on McDowell was rocking. The team peaked in 1993 with the arrival of Charles Barkley and the valley went crazy for the purple and orange.
I was 17 years old when the Suns went to the NBA Finals. We fell short as John Paxson sank a three-point shot, and along with it sank my heart. It seemed like we would just get better and win it the next year, but an NBA championship evaded us. The Suns did not make it to the Finals again, although they got close with the two-time MVP Steve Nash. The Suns went to the Western Conference Finals but lost to the eventual champions in six games. I again thought we would return stronger the next year, but we digressed and did not make it back to the Western Conference Finals. The next ten years of basketball were dreadful to watch, and we even tanked one season so that we could at least have some hope in the NBA draft.
The first overall pick in the draft did not change much in the Suns organization, and the team still struggled to win games. I struggled to watch these teams, and I often found something else to do in the third and fourth quarter when the game got out of hand. The team started to show some life last year in the NBA "bubble", and it looked like they were starting to turn the corner. Could a team that did not make the playoffs for 10 years possibly make the playoffs in year 11? The Suns seemed to get better as the season went along, and they soon caught fire like the sunburst on their uniform.
I write tonight with the Suns clinching the Western Conference after a tough battle with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Suns had to go through the Lakers in the first round, but they found success against them this time and they beat the Clippers in the same arena they beat the Lakers in. I reflect on the past failures and the hardships the team endured. I think of the painful losses and the players who did not even seem to compete. There were times I was down on the Suns, but I never stopped being a Suns fan. I am elated to report that the Suns are a mere four games from the NBA championship, and I am not sure if I will be able to control myself if they win the title. I am glad I did not being quit being a fan, and all those years of bad losses seem to be worth it when you are on the other side of it and anticipating an opportunity at an NBA championship. Although it was worth it to remain a fan, when I am five seconds into eternity, I will not care how the Suns did in 2021. All that will matter at that time is what I did for God, and if I remained faithful until the end.
I think of this verse and how we will reap the rewards of living for God if we are faithful and if we do not give up. The Suns winning the NBA championship would make me happy, but when compared to eternity, it does not mean much. What I did for God will mean everything - throughout hard times in the Christian life, the attacks of the devil, the disappointments, and the heartaches. These will all pale in comparison to what God has prepared for us. The beauty of Heaven and the great privilege and honor of praising my Lord and Savior for all eternity will make the troubles of this world seems so distant and forgettable.
We are promised that we will reap if we do not give up, but it is important to keep fighting the good fight in the times of adversity and trials. Will you endure to the end? Will you run your race well? Do you have your eyes on eternity or are you focused on the trials or distractions of this world? May we not faint in the day of adversity, and may we press on until the day God call us home. As the song says, "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus! Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of his dear face, all sorrow will erase. So, bravely run the race till we see Christ."
Stay in the fight!