The 2015 season for the Kansas City Royals has largely been played under the shadow of last year’s game seven where catcher Salvador Perez popped out with the tying run on third base to end the series. Perez wouldn’t miss his chance this year, driving in the tying run in the top of the ninth before getting what would become the winning run in the twelfth on his way to earning the World Series MVP.
In many ways, having to come from two runs down in the top of the ninth to win in extra innings just seems fitting given the postseason run the Royals have experienced. They are the only team to ever win the World Series after coming from behind in the 8th inning or later three times in the postseason’s final round. Considering this was the 111th World Series to be played, that’s no small feat. Moreover, other than game two where the Royals dominated throughout, the Mets were two outs, five outs, and three outs away from winning when the Royals came back to tie the game on their way to victory.
And these late comebacks did not start with the final round. Kansas City was behind by two runs or more in seven of their eleven wins this postseason, including being down by at least that margin going into the sixth inning in all but one of those come from behind victories. So when ESPN‘s Jayson Stark calls them “the kings of improbability,” it is difficult to find a more fitting title.
For their part, the Royals attribute their ability to come back late in games primarily to an unwavering sense of confidence. As several of their players told reporters after the game, they truly believe that they are never out of the game (to go along with a number of other clichés to that effect). Their GM Dayton Moore even went so far as to tell one of his assistants as the ninth inning of Sunday’s decisive game was about to get underway: “Get ready. We’re about to find a way to win the World Series.” A man who can say that with all seriousness when his team was down two runs facing a pitcher in Matt Harvey that had baffled them for the first eight innings to the tune of only four hits to go along with nine strikeouts is a man who defines unwavering confidence in his players. That he could say it knowing the whole time that, should Harvey falter, one of the game’s most dominant closers is waiting in New York’s bullpen borders on naivety, though perhaps there is not much difference between those two emotions in the world of sports.
Ultimately, their confidence was well placed and they were able to accomplish something truly historic as a result. The same can, and should, be true of us in our walk with the Lord as well. The entirety of scripture speaks to our ability to have confidence in our God. Whether it was saving the Israelites from slavery, bringing them to the land he promised to their ancestors, continuing to love them and be there for them throughout the exile, or in sending his only son to die in order to restore the relationship that we broke through our sin, God has never given us a reason to doubt his goodness, love, and faithfulness. And while times may come when those qualities are less apparent than others, that’s when it is most important that we retain our confidence in the Lord.
As Moses told a fearful and insecure Israel just before his death, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). The ancient Israelites were a people quick to lose confidence in their God and they suffered greatly for it on multiple occasions. Don’t let the same be said of you. Rather, take comfort in the promise that God will never leave you or forsake you and be filled with the confidence to trust in his faithfulness no matter your circumstances.
We serve a good God and a loving Father. Our confidence in him can be unwavering because his character is never changing. Why do you need that reminder today?