Not long ago, my wife, Cindy, and I were sitting in the bleachers watching our daughter Summer’s academy volleyball game.
It was an exciting match. Our team won the first two games, but the opposing team rallied and took the next two. The fifth and final game would crown the winner, and as parents we were getting nervous because our self-worth is tied very closely to how our kids perform in sports (wink, wink).
The fifth game was played to 15, and our girls were losing 10-7. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard a lone scream in the gymnasium. It went like this:
“I . . . !!!!!!”
What was this noise? Was someone in pain?
I looked over and discovered the screamer—the normally subdued Mr. Weber, one of our schoolteachers. Mr. Weber had stood alone in the bleachers and yelled “I . . . !!!!!!!” The whole gym fell silent. The players stopped playing. The snow stopped falling outside.
But Mr. Weber wasn’t done yelling. “I believe . . .” he continued. And immediately we knew what was happening. Weber had chosen this moment to do the “I Believe” chant.
The “I Believe” chant is a relatively rare occurrence at ballgames, because you’re all alone when you start it. It’s basically just you yelling in a gymnasium.
“I believe . . .” Mr. Weber yelled. (We repeated after him: “I believe . . .”)
“I believe that we . . .” (“I believe that we . . .”)
Then we all joined together: “I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!”
We fans were all smiles, and so were our players, who were looking up to the stands. One of the players, Leslie, later told me she got chills when she heard Mr. Weber do that.
Something happened to our girls when they saw their teacher standing up for them. They came together and rallied and won the match. “I believe that we will win.”
Now while it might seem like the “I Believe” cheer is all about winning, it really isn’t. The “I Believe” cheer isn’t mainly about winning; it’s about believing. It’s about supporting each other, encouraging each other.
Why is encouragement so powerful? Because when someone is encouraging you, someone is standing with you. You’re not alone. Even Scripture tells us to encourage one another (see Heb. 10:25).
To our spring 2022 graduates and other young people: If you listen closely, you’ve been hearing the “I Believe” chant throughout your life.
You heard it late at night as you were finishing your science fair project and your mom brought you apple slices and tea. “I believe that we will win.”
You heard it when you came home early—a relationship fell apart and you felt like your whole life was over. As you walked through the door, suddenly the parent and sibling you didn’t have a lot of time for earlier in the day—they were the ones there for you when it mattered most. “I believe that we will win.”
You heard it when you were nervous at concert performances and big games and special worship services—as the people in your life sat up just a little higher when it was your turn.
Most amazing of all, God Himself (in whose image we’re made) also sits up just a little higher when you enter His presence. He feels all your joy and sorrow deep in His own heart.
Jesus once said that the biggest celebration in heaven is when a human on earth turns their life around—goes from losing to winning. I once had a college student write these profound lines in her journal: “In our darkest moments,” she wrote, “the angels are in full celebration because they know what’s about to happen.”
I believe that we will win. Because He has already won.
Andy Nash ([email protected]) is an Adventist author and speaker who leads Israel study tours for all ages.