The NBA Finals begin tonight, and I believe this series has the potential to be truly legendary. I love that it’s a rematch from last year, and loaded with stars who are all pretty healthy. 

What I appreciate most about this series is that both teams have proven they are the two best teams in the league, and in many ways have been “through the fire” to get here. We value teams that have faced adversity on the road to the championship, and both of these teams have dealt with plenty.

The Warriors were without head coach Steve Kerr for the first part of the season, due to an injury, yet they just kept winning with Luke Walton in charge. The Cavs on the other hand fired their head coach David Blatt in the middle of the season, despite having the best record in the Eastern Conference.

In the Finals last year, the Cavs were missing two of their stars, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, who were both out with injuries. They also had to wait and see if Love, a free agent, would return this year. The Warriors were without Steph Curry earlier in the playoffs, and he’s had to get his rhythm back while fighting through the knee injury.

Then in each of their last series, they faced more tests with the Warriors overcoming a 3-1 deficit to the Thunder, and the Cavs bouncing back after losing two straight games to Toronto. The reality is that neither team “walked” into the NBA Finals, and their trials and challenges have helped prepare them for this exciting moment.

When considering our own seasons of life, I’m sure we can relate to being tested and challenged by a trial or some kind of difficulty. We don’t enjoy the tests, but we can find great encouragement in God’s Word.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (NLT) says, So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

The Warriors and Cavs hope to hold the gold trophy at the end of the NBA Finals, and both teams will know that the refining they experienced was well worth it.

When we continue following Jesus, even through our trials, we can trust that our faith is being strengthened and our character is being refined. And at the end of this difficult life, we have assurance that eternity with Jesus awaits us. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I admit I don’t like to go through trials, but I thank you for developing my character and trust in You while going through them. Please give me strength to endure the trials, and allow my faith to bring much glory and honor to Jesus. In His wonderful name I pray, Amen.