Fifty million of us watched what they're calling the greatest comeback in NFL conference championship history. Too bad so many of their fans missed it.
With just four minutes left, the Seattle Seahawks were down by 12 points to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game. At stake - who goes to the Super Bowl.
It really wasn't looking good. Seattle's usually-efficient quarterback had thrown four interceptions and been sacked five times. With just two minutes left, they were still behind. So fans gave up and started leaving in droves.
Then, the stunning turnaround. In just 44 wild seconds, Seattle suddenly scored two touchdowns! And punched their ticket to the Super Bowl with a breathtaking 28-22 victory.
Sadly, the fans who left missed what may have been the most thrilling victory the home team ever won.
Because they gave up too soon. When it looked like there was no way - and no time - this could turn out to be a win.
Unfortunately, I've made that mistake way too many times. Giving up too soon. Deciding the situation's hopeless. No way things are going to change.
Underestimating the God I've come to know as "The God of the 11th Hour." Taking matters into my own hands. Missing the miracle.
I'm not alone. Many have despaired that their marriage would change. That a prodigal would come back. That their need for love would be met. That a financial breakthrough would ever come. That the answer would ever come.
So we panic. We hijack the wheel from God. And mess up the very thing God was ready to do. Because we couldn't wait for it.
I've met so many wives who wish they'd waited for God's guy. Instead, they're living a deeper lonely than being single - being married to the wrong person.
I've known so many who couldn't wait for God to provide - so they dug an even deeper financial pit, trying to make it happen. Or pushed too hard spiritually because a loved one wasn't responding. So many of us have unwittingly aborted what God wanted to do by trying to make it happen.
When we belong to Jesus, we're under the care of the God who makes "everything beautiful in its time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Who's promised that our "God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). Whose "way is perfect" (2 Samuel 22:31).
When it's looking like the game is over, I smile to think about the Jews waiting through ten horrific plagues for their promised deliverance from Egypt - after four centuries of bondage. Things just got worse instead of better.
Then one night God said, "Sleep with your clothes on. Don't put any yeast in the bread because it won't have time to rise. You'll be free by morning."
And they were! Plus the bonus feature - the long wait made the Egyptians so desperate to get rid of their slaves that they showered them with their jewelry to coax them to go!
Bottom line: God can do in a day what men couldn't do in 50 years! Which means I can anchor my life to His promise: "Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass" (Psalm 37:5).
He parts Red Seas. He gives water from a desert rock. He delivers a nation in a night. He raises Lazarus from the dead. He does the greatest miracle in human history after the darkest hour in human history - the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead!
He'll be right on time. I don't want to miss it.
Because I left the game too soon.