Do you believe in miracles? YES!

~ Broadcaster Al Michaels

01-15-10 @ Adam Kazmierski, courtesy of iStockphoto

In the entire history of modern sports, no team dominated like the Soviet hockey teams from 1950 – 1990. They were invincible.

The experts proclaimed that it would take a miracle for any team to beat them at the 1980 Olympics. The big red machine was a well-financed conglomeration of professionals pitted against amateurs. Grown men in their prime against collegians. It was the hockey equivalent of Goliath vs. David.

What resulted was the win known as The Miracle on Ice.

  • It’s called the greatest win in 20th century sports.

Everyone roots for the underdog to upset the daunting champion. And the Americans did just that. Coach Herb Brooks took this ragtag group to the pinnacle of their sport.

  • Coach Brooks did so by demonstrating their common goal.

At first, rivalry abounded among players from the different schools. Pride, grudges, and self-will kept them from achieving their true desires. They had to overcome the distractions that plague Olympic athletes.

  • Each had to realize his destiny.

Coach Brooks used only three short sentences to motivate his team just before the game against the Soviets:

You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.

The players responded with passion, and they played the game of their lifetime. They overcame a fierce barrage from the powerful Soviets after they had gone up 4 – 3. They were as relentless as the Soviets were ruthless.

As the last seconds counted down, the announcer uttered his infamous words about believing in miracles.

  • The world couldn’t believe it.

The Soviet news agencies closed. They didn’t carry the story. The rest of the world was in shock.

But the Americans weren’t finished. They had to beat Finland also to win the gold medal.

  • The world needed another miracle to believe.

At one point, the Finns were beating the Americans in that next game. At an intermission, Coach Brooks again spoke: if you lose this game, you’ll take it to your graves.

His team responded with a win, sealing their legacy by winning the gold medal.

  • After a miracle, people look to a higher power.

The jubilant team celebrated by singing God Bless America. Most likely, they did so more out of their patriotism than their belief in God. They had pulled off what Sports Illustrated deemed as one of the greatest feats in the last century.

  • So, what’s the take-home message here?

As unexpected as what they did was, it wasn’t something supernatural. What they accomplished really wasn’t a miracle. If you want to believe in miracles, consider this:

Mankind had no hope of winning against our enemies: Death, Hell, and the Grave. They were invincible. So, God sent in a one-man team: Jesus. It was what He was born for. He was conceived in a virgin. Delivered in poverty. Raised in obscurity. Opposed by His enemies’ furious attacks. Killed. He took His game to the grave…

But He rose on the third day as one Victorious over foes no one thought capable of defeat.

Just like the 1980 hockey team, Jesus faced those who can’t believe what He did. Their disbelief doesn’t negate the greatest miracle of all-time though.

Do I believe in miracles? Yes!

Do you believe in miracles?