The night had fallen. The beautiful moonlight rose upon the luscious garden in front of the house. I sat on the black leather sofa. It was an exquisitely furnished living room of a friend. The opulence cremated the day’s stress. My tense nerves were sufficiently frayed.
My eyes were glued to the television screen for forty-five minutes that windy evening of May 27, 2005. Europe was aglow with passion. Approximately, sixty-five thousand people had gathered at Ataturk Stadium, Istanbul. Twenty thousand of them flew in from United Kingdom. They all came to Athens; traveling scousers from England. Red shirts were everywhere. I saw so many red and white scarves waving all across the terraces. The spirit of Liverpool Football Club came all the way from Anfield. Their particular traditional soulful anthem, “You will never walk alone” erupted like a volcano from the passionate fans.
It was an emotional song. My bowels moved. The fans reminded the players in case the players had forgotten. They promised that they would always be there no matter where they would go; no matter what they would go through; and no matter the result of the matches they would play. Even when they lose, they would still sing with unbridled ecstasy. And they demonstrated that promise. They walked their talk. Even when their team was down by three goals to AC Milan in the first half of the game, Liverpool fans still sang to them with passionate abandon, “You will never walk alone.” It was a moving experience. I was deeply touched.
As I sat there, my mind skimmed through Scriptures for promises of Divine presence. His irrevocable commitment to stick with us, irrespective of what we go through, beamed across my mind like flash from nuclear particles in an accelerator. This is God’s promise: “You will never walk alone.” And God’s promises are sure. Yet how often we forget! We reel to and fro when we get stuck. We tie momentary setbacks to the supposedly absence of God. Pain makes us cry. Disappointment embitters. Unrealized dreams break our hearts. When we lose our “matches” we hurriedly, though erroneously, conclude that we are walking alone. The truth is that if God were not with you, life could have been worse.
God, a Liverpool Fan?
You’ve got to understand this truth: That you have never walked alone. If you ever did, then worse things could have happened to you. You survived what sank others. You escaped what killed others. Because there’s someone who constantly walks with you. Even when you don’t seem to realize. Or feel it. You may not feel His presence, yet he is always there. Who takes care of all the airplanes that you’ve flown in safe from take-off to touch-down? Who watches over your children when you’re not there? Who straightens crooked paths for you? Who levels your mountains? Who fills your valleys? Who fights your battles? Hey, you’ve not walked through life all by yourself. You haven’t played your “matches” without constant support. There is an invisible fan base that has been helping you all along. Sons of Adam, don’t ever think that it’s your skill, talents, smartness, or connections that have brought you to where you are. The fact remains that you have never played your “matches” without continuous, overwhelming support from your number one, ever-present fan – God.
More than Airbus A380: Help from an Invisible Carrier
Life is complex and intricate. It demands the help of someone stronger than us, and the expertise of someone more knowledgeable than us. Mortals do not have exclusive capacity to take charge of life. The following story puts this in context:
One night a man dreamt He was walking along the beach with God. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to Him and the other belonging to God. When the last scene flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand and noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that this happened at the very lowest and saddest times of his life. This really bothered him and he questioned God about it:
“God, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me”.
God replied: “My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
So when you couldn’t walk, God carried you. He carried you on His “back” as the eagle carries her eaglets. The double-deck Airbus A380 is a flagship Airbus jetliner that offers 50 per cent more floor surface than any other high-capacity aircraft. It has two full-length passenger levels with two widebody dimensions: a main deck and an upper deck, which are conveniently linked by fixed stairs forward and aft. It’s a passenger’s delight. You “own the sky” when you travel in it. But the back I said that carries you – that invisible carrier – makes Airbus A380 a child’s play. Never have you walked alone. Never will you.
In the second half of that 2005 Champions League final, Liverpool Football Club came back from a three-goal deficit to win the game.