For the first half of NFL Sunday, a feel-good story dominated the headlines.  Alex Smith, quarterback for the Washington Football Team (yes, that’s their name) returned to the field for the first time in 99 weeks after a devastating injury to his tibia and fibula.  17 surgeries and life-threatening infections led many to believe he would never play again.  Yet, here he was!

And then, in the next round of games, Dallas quarterback suffered multiple ankle breaks and a dislocated foot.  He had surgery the same night, and is out for at least the remainder of the season.  This became the lead story, but most commentators connected the two.  The first story became an encouragement for the second.

The Washington Football Team has not had a lot to cheer about lately, beginning with their name problems and continuing with their record.  Football hasn’t had much to cheer about either, as multiple games have been rescheduled due to COVID-19.  America hasn’t had much to cheer for either.  This is why every positive story is worth celebrating.  But Smith’s story is more than a feel-good tale; it’s the reflection of two years of pain, courage and hard work, an inspiring tale that tells us someone can – and has – made it through.

Many of us are dealing with hard things right now.  We’ve lost a loved one, or we’re worried about the health of another.  We’re dealing with an injury or illness of our own.  We’re struggling to make ends meet.  We’re having difficulties adjusting to changes at work, school and home.  We’re worried about the future: not just the election, but infection rates, a possible second wave, isolation and lockdown.

The good news is that we can make it through.  Alex Smith didn’t invent this good news, but he epitomizes it.  Seeing his wife and children cheering in the stands brought tears to the eyes of pretty much everyone.  These are the sort of tears we don’t need wiped away: tears of joy, tears of overcoming.  As John writes, those who believe in Christ are able to overcome the world (1 John 5:4-5).  Christ overcame sin and death, and we are able to overcome fear and anxiety, losses and setbacks.  It may seem impossible at first ~ even Smith said there were times he felt like giving up ~ but “what is impossible for man is possible for God” (Luke 18:27).  Even our hymns reinforce this truth: no matter what we face, we shall overcome someday.