It's hard to watch the Oakland Raiders, with respect and pride, struggle to end the season.
It hurts, but somehow we must keep the faith.
I started writing this article with 33 seconds remaining in the Raiders' 23-9 loss to Cleveland Sunday.
Can things be changed in a twinkling of an eye? Yes, if the time is right, and it is a part of our destiny.
If not, we will just have to wait until a change comes.
Am I impatient with this growth process? No, I am willing to hang in there and continue to hope.
Just as we encourage and become intercessors for those who have a need, we must become intercessors for our team, the Oakland Raiders.
Up and down, we win one, we lose one. We are asking for consistency just as teachers would ask students to be consistent in their preparation for an examination.
If you have ever known someone with a challenge or even had a challenge yourself, you cannot give up.
Life is about working and pressing toward a mark, a high call, a higher level of excellence, and we have got to believe that we can be transformed from losing to winning, not sometimes, but most times.
I, and others, have believed in relatives, friends, and college acquaintances, like long-time Raider fan JCI and many others. We see renewed persons, new beginnings for some people, because we did not give up. They did not give up.
Many of our associates may have stumbled, vacillated (sometimes up, sometimes down), struggled to get up, and so on.
The main point is: Eventually, they rose up and focused on a target. They stopped "missing the mark" and started getting their touchdowns (again) and victories.
In fact, it may surprise you to know that the Hebrew word for "sin" is "chatar" and it means "to miss the mark."
So, what do we do? We wait until our change comes. And when it comes, we will be grateful, and we will praise the one who is the source of our strength and our Redeemer.
After all, that is what the Christmas season is all about: being grateful and giving praise to the one who is the Redeemer of all mankind.
I know what you are saying, "We did not win today."
That's right. And I venture to say: "We are not ready, yet. But, when we are ready, deep down in our hearts, we will become winners, again. We will be restored to our place of glory when the time is right."
So, when it comes to the Oakland Raiders, we cannot give up.
I know someone who made the headlines because of a successful catch in the last eight seconds.
Warren Wells was his name, and it was a 33-yard touchdown reception. The headlines called Wells a hero.
In fact, I have a copy of the New York Times article, dated Dec. 7, 1970. George Blanda put up the extra point, and the game was won 14-13.
That spectacular catch and that win, which all occurred during the last eight seconds taught me a lesson: Never, ever give up.
Conclusion: Oakland Raiders and Raider Nation, "Never, ever give up."
You must believe that you can change, that others can change, and that the Oakland Raiders can change.