Crowds jumping. Fist pumping. Voices roaring.
“Who’s Got It Better Than Us? Noooo-body!”
What started as a phrase cousins Jack Harbaugh and Mike Gottfried would say to each other as kids in Crestline, Ohio, has become an anthem for the 49ers and their fans alike, as the college football coaches have passed down their life-long motto to Harbaugh’s son, San Francisco 49ers head coach, Jim Harbaugh.
With thousands of grown men screaming it at the top of their lungs, it can sound like a battlecry. But it didn’t start out that way. This phrase was simply Harbaugh & Gottfried’s childhood jingle as the they would look around at their simple, humble lives kicking around the can on empty streets, and be overwhelmed with gratefulness for what they had. It later became a philosophy for Jim, who wanted to inspire his team to be aware of how good they had it. They would win games. They would lose games. They would fall. They would thrive. But they were living the dream. Who had it better than them?
When I think of the church, I think of us this way.
We are all scarred, broken, messed-up people who were given a second chance, and we accepted it—YES! We don’t have to pay for the disgustingness of our humanness—someone already has—WOW. And yes, we deal with discouragement all the time. We get lost, and confused, and we don’t always have direction. We have victories. We have losses. We fall. We thrive. But we know—and in this we have hope… we are sinners who don’t have to pay the eternal consequences of who we’ve been. Jesus' blood has covered our sins.
Who has it better than us? Nobody.
I recently introduced a good friend of mine to my family—not my blood family, but a family that became my own just less than 2 years ago. My relationship with them is particularly significant since I had lost my father— along with my faith in family and love almost 5 years ago, and this family played a key role in restoring those pieces of my heart. Before arriving to their doorstep, I opened up to my friend about the depth of losing my own dad, and what this journey has really been like without him. My friend might have assumed (as I would have) that my story was a tragic one. However, at the end of the conversation I began to weep, and laugh, and uncontrollably (probably ridiculously) smile as I spoke of all the pieces of my heart that have been restored, all of the new wonderful relationships I’ve found, and how wonderfully obvious God’s redeeming love is in my life. As I spoke of the second chance at a father—the second chance at a family, and hope, and love— anyone would be able to feel the outpouring of joy seeping from every part of me. My face showered with tears as I said, “I have the best life ever. I have the best life ever.”
There are some moments, like that moment, where I am blaringly aware that I—the church, have been lavished with a grace that far outweighs any sin, any loss, any heartache.
I’ve had some victories. I’ve had some losses. I’ve fallen. I’ve thrived. But I know a God who took a broken-down, faithless sinner, and turned her life around. So before I complain about the discouragement I feel today, the stress I feel, or things I wish I had that feel so far out of reach, I look to the cross and remember what I have been given, and I whisper to myself…
“Who has it better than me? Nobody.”
2 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. 3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. 4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. 5 He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! - Psalm 103:2-5