The God of the 4th Quarter
We’re in the 4th … 3 seconds on the shot clock … He pulls up with a 3-pointer at the buzzer … and scores! They have won the game and the crowd goes WILD!!!
Don’t you just love sport commentators? They make watching games just a little bit more exciting. A tad bit more riveting. They get your heart pumping with anticipation. I haven’t watched sports in years, but my first and favorite sport of choice was basketball.
My favorite team was the Boston Celtics back in the early 2000s. Back when Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Garnett dominated. I also loved the San Antonio Spurs with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. And although I wasn’t smitten with the Sixers, who didn’t love Allen Iverson? And Kobe? His talent was undeniable. I never liked the Lakers honestly… too arrogant for me … I preferred the underdogs. Oh yeah, and I don’t care what anyone says, Vince Carter is hands down the best dunker of all time! He was just nasty with it… and I mean that in the most pleasant way.
I tapered off from watching basketball when I couldn’t keep up with who was on what team. The sport just felt different to me. So surprisingly, it was after I stopped watching sports that I heard the phrase “4th Quarter Team”. My husband was watching his beloved Alabama “Roll Tide” play… and it didn’t look too good for them. They were headed into the half, and if my memory serves correctly, they were at least 2 touchdowns behind. But my husband was calm (at least his exterior was). He said, “They’re a 4th quarter team, they’ll pull this out”.
I honestly don’t remember if Alabama pulled out the win or not. But I have witnessed that they are in fact a 4th quarter team. A team that has the tendency to pull out victory at the last minute. And last week, it dawned on me that God is very much the same… He too has the tendency to pull victory at the very last second.
God waited until Abraham was 99 years-old to bless him with his son Isaac. He could’ve given Abraham a child in his youth but He didn’t… He waited. God waited until the Children of Israel was caught between death by Pharaoh or death by the Red Sea before He parted the Red Sea. He could’ve set them free before the situation became so hostile, but He didn’t… He waited. God knew Lazarus was sick, yet He waited until Lazarus was dead before He came to see him. He could have come while Lazarus was alive, but He didn’t… He waited.
Why? Well, what better explanation than from God Himself? Here’s what He said:
So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
(John 11:14-15, NIV)
Christ was glad that Lazarus was dead before He showed up. Not because He was macabre but so that the disciples and the crowd might believe in Him based on the power He was about to display. God’s delay was for their benefit. Is it not for our benefit to see that our God can do incredible things, especially when it’s at the last minute? God is able to show us that He is in fact God and reigns supreme when He delivers us from an impossible situation. Why would we serve a God that never shows His Godly attributes?
God must allow impossible, last-minute situations so that we can see that He was serious when He said nothing was too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:37). God chooses to be a God of the 4th quarter so that we can see how great He is. It's His way of giving us a front-row seat to His power. God showing up in the 4th quarter is merely confirmation.
Confirmation that God is God.
Confirmation that we can believe in Him.
Confirmation that we can trust Him.
Confirmation that He is powerful.
Confirmation that He can do the impossible.
Confirmation that it is never too late for God to show up and show out.
When it appears to be too late in the half for a win but then God steps in and operates in His authority, we not only stand in awe, but we believe in Him because He has shown Himself powerful to us. Although it may leave us uncomfortable… possibly even sweating bullets, God is The God of the 4th Quarter for no other reason than for His glory and for our confirmation to believe in Him. And what better way to excite us and to get our hearts pumping, than to confirm His splendor in the 4th quarter? It’s a masterful way to leave us breathless at His sovereignty. Here's another reason why God does the impossible:
I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.
(Isaiah 41:19-20, NIV)
God does the impossible at the last minute so no one or nothing can take credit for His work. Victory in the 4th quarter is spiritual stamped by God and God alone. So, if you are in the 4th quarter of a situation and it seems like you will lose, know that God is a God of the 4th quarter. When we are uncomfortable, He is right in His element.
So just wait. Wait for the ending. We serve a God who can turn your spectators to commentators. They’ll comment on how God did the impossible for you. They’ll run back the replay in their minds. They won’t comprehend how you won... especially since you were in the last quarter. But if they ask you how you did it, just tell them “I serve the one, true, and living God. I serve the God of the 4th Quarter.”
Amen. Be blessed y’all! Have a grandeur day and week.
Quin Arrington's debut book "And Then You Shall Have Good Success: Attaining Good Success God's Way" is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook format. Link to book listed below.