In basketball, things change much more quickly than in football. Partly because there are three-point shots; partly because of the trumping effect of last second foul shots; partly because the basketball court is still the same size its always been while players are all now seven feet tall, weigh 250 pounds and can dunk from the free-throw line – the score, the balance of power, in any game seems as though it can change in an instant. In basketball, two minutes left on the clock is an eternity.
Entire games are played, entire lifetimes are lived, in those last two minutes. Unless your team is down by more than 20 points, you still have a chance. That’s why the most nail-biting, hair-raising, ulcerating, blood-pressuring moments in sports are in the last 10 seconds of neck-and-neck basketball games.
In the last few seconds of a one-point game the test becomes not of skill, or style, or strength. No: at that crunch-point everything comes down to timing. In the big game – the game of life – timing is everything.
Does anyone doubt the devil’s timing when he arrived to accompany Jesus after forty days and forty nights of fasting in the wilderness? Jesus was exhausted, hungry, alone, tired, wobbly. The devil wrongly calculated that he would be a perfect victim. But his timing is often perfect when he tempts us.