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Why You Love Cheering For the Underdog

By: Allen Cothran

Every March, we hear rumblings about underdogs and this year’s Cinderella story.

In the past, teams like Dayton, Butler, and  George Mason have carried the banner.

This year, maybe a local team like Wofford will be the big surprise.

In sports, we cheer for the underdog. Something in us longs for the story of something overlooked or forgotten bursting into the forefront of the story. Whether it’s Cinderella getting her prince or the tiny basketball program knocking off the perennial powerhouse, we want redemption for the weak.

The Underdog Story is Spiritual

We hunger for the weak to be saved, for the little guy to overcome and for the good girl to get her man because this idea of redemption is something God has written on our hearts.

From beginning to end, the Bible is filled with stories of God helping the underdog to overcome.  Moses, a discarded child, was God’s choice to free His people in Israel.  David, a shepherd boy, defeated the perfect warrior. Even God’s Son came not as a king or a warrior but as a carpenter whose first moments on this earth were spent in an animal’s feeding trough.

God loves a Cinderella story, and our stories are no different.

The Underdog Story is Supernatural

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul quotes Jesus “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  

Paul recognized that God’s plan does not require the smartest or strongest. In fact, the opposite is true. God works through people and circumstances we would never choose.    

When something defies convention the way God’s plan for our redemption does, it transforms us. In Romans 6, Paul writes, “Though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your hearts the pattern of teaching which has now claimed your allegiance.  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”  

Before God redeems us, we live as slaves. When we meet Jesus, we are moved from death to life, a life of freedom in Christ.

Before God redeems us, we live as slaves. When we meet Jesus, we are moved from death to life, a life of freedom in Christ.

The Underdog Story is Simple

When we realize what God saves us from, we respond.  It is impossible not to. Our lives become defined by recognition of His grace.  

Cinderella’s story is one of grace. It shows the story of one overlooked and discarded by the world raised to a position of esteem. She was valued by the prince, and so are we.

Experiencing God’s grace isn’t a one-time event that happens at salvation. At some point, we’ve all failed Him in ways we believed to be unforgivable. In our minds, we’ve failed too miserably to call on Him anymore. In those times, we can take comfort in the fact that God uses our weakness for His glory. Maybe you’ve never felt worthy to call on God at all. Know this: no matter how trapped you feel, God’s grace is always within reach.

We are all underdog stories. In spite of who we once were, God has chosen us to be his children. He redeems us and gives us the opportunity to experience a better life with Him.

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