In the movie White Men Can’t Jump Woody Harrelson’s character tells Wesley Snipes’ character, “You would rather lose pretty than win ugly.” I think this is true of most people. Our pride makes it somewhat easier to be Matt Hiltman and lose an epic match than to be me and win while being called pathetic on national TV. I know for myself I felt pretty disappointed in how I competed in the $25,000 match. The question is “why do we feel this way”? Over the course of my career in steer wrestling, it has happened more than once – I’ve made terrible runs on a great steers and still end up winning, or slammed a bad one and ended up one place out of the money. Still, it feels better slamming the bad one. Do we not like winning ugly because we didn’t do our best or is it because we don’t like to look bad? In other words, is it just pride which inspires such disgust when our results are good but our showing was poor? While I think our pride partly describes this feeling I think there is something else there as well, something deeper that strikes right at the core of our humanity. You see when even our worst efforts succeed, the vanity and futility of this world is brought into focus. After all our best doesn’t always succeed and worst sometimes does. What can be more futile than that? This moment brings into clear focus the shallowness- the vanity of our best efforts. It reminds me of the way Solomon felt in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes when he wrote, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind”. I think God wants to bring us to this point whether by “losing epically” or by “winning ugly”. God wants to bring us to the end which makes us ask “is this all there is?” He wants to awaken in all of us a longing for something real, something transcendent, something eternal. Then maybe by awakening this longing we may look and see Him- The Ultimate Reality, The One Who Transcends Time and Space, The Eternal One. I pray for all those who read this-- that you would have a sincere and genuine experience with Jesus Christ, that the Father of lights Himself would become known to you. And I pray that upon meeting Him your life would become the epic, incredible adventure that your heart has longed for. I pray the God of Heaven would begin to answer all of your questions, would begin to heal every wound, and would begin to fill every void in your life. I pray all of your deepest hopes and dreams find their ultimate fulfillment in Him and that each one of you realize all of the potential the Father placed on the inside of you. I pray you have peace in the midst of storms; courage in the midst of fear; humility in the midst of arrogance; and grace in the midst of judgment. Finally, I am thankful for the awesome opportunity of knowing such amazing men as the ones I met on FMJ and I pray I have in no way hindered their pursuit of the Father.