For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6–8, ESV)
As a baseball fan, this time of year is exciting for me. Now is the time for players to begin to arrive at training camps in warm-weather states such as Florida and Arizona. The spikes come out, the gloves dusted off and new teammates are greeted. That's one of the reasons I'm excited about the Detroit Tigers this year. I know he's overweight and will drive ticket prices up, but I can't wait to see what Prince Fielder's going to accomplish in a Tiger uniform; helping to build on last year's success.
Since 2006 we Tigers fans have reason to hope again. After a long, barren stretch of abysmal and disappointing seasons, the boys of Motor City seem on the cusp of a championship. As a life-long Tigers fan I have to admit a little annoyance at seeing folks jump onto the team's bandwagon with the addition or rise of superstars like Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. It's amazing how many "fans" come out of the woodwork when a local team rises to glory, only to return whence they came when their club doesn't perform as expected.
It all reminds me to be thankful that our God is not a fair-weather fan. He doesn't wait until we get our act together or pad our lineup with superstar-like good works before he will embrace us. Romans 5 tells us that God loved us far before we showed any promise -- in fact when we were still taking up arms against him he sent his only Son Jesus to die as a payment for our sins. Not only did God shower his love on me when I was his enemy, he did so before I was born, nay, even before he carved out the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). That is simply spectacular.
What's just as exciting is that his love and forgiveness are inexhaustible, which means when I have a bad season (i.e. sin and screw up), he doesn't turn off the games and tuck the big foam finger into storage. He won't quit on us. He will never stop cheering for us to keep pressing on and growing in Christ.
So maybe the Tigers will live up to all the hype and maybe they won't. I'm going to cheer for them anyways. I won't give up on them because I'm not a fair-weather fan. And neither is God.