Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March Madness? Not me!

Well, that's not completely true.  I LOVE watching NCAA basketball.  I enjoy the competition, the crazy fans, cheering for my favorite team(s), etc.  Love, love, love it.

What I do NOT love about it?  The brackets.  I have never, ever filled out a bracket with my predictions of the winners.  Never.  It drives me crazy!  Picking the teams to win every game over two weeks' time, and then crashing when your favorite team doesn't even make it out of the first round?  I can't take the pressure!

So, every year, I print a bracket.  Then, as the games are played, I fill in the winner, so I can track which teams will be playing the next round of games.  Nice, safe, and low-stress.

The real reason is that I don't like the uncertainty of the "gamble".  I am not a risk-taker.  I want to know what's going on, have time to adjust to that matter, and then go on with life.  Very safe. 

The problem with this is that it severely limits my trust in God.  I cannot count the number of times God has told me, "Trust me."  No matter what the situation we were in or facing, those were the words He whispered to my heart.  "Trust me." 

But God, what if my team doesn't win?  (What if my plans are not Your plans?)

What if it's a close game? (What if I can't see the outcome until it actually happens?)

What if one of my favorite players get hurt?  (What if the road isn't easy, and people I love have to suffer?)

What if the coach gives the wrong play, and the other team capitalizes?  (What if Your directions seem unreasonable, and Satan attacks me with doubts and worries?)

What if I have the ball with only seconds to go, my team is behind, and I blow the play?  (What if I mess up and fail You and those I love?)

What if I play great defense, only to get called for a foul?  (What if, no matter how hard I try to serve You...I stumble and fall?)

Recently, He spoke once again to me..."I love You this much [the cross].  Trust Me."

I don't even trust myself, God.  How can I trust You, whom I cannot see, touch, or hear audibly?  How?

The wonderful thing about those NCAA brackets?  Every year there is a new one.  Some teams make it to the tournament every year.  Often, though, there are is at least one unexpected team.  Some small school that has an awesome, up-and-coming group of guys who play with passion.  New teams getting a chance to show their skills on the court.  There are always those great come-back games, or the last-minute buzzer beater that decides the outcome.

The wonderful thing about God, and the life He gives us?  Every time I do it wrong, there's  a new chance.  Or an unexpected twist I had not...expected: 

- Just when I think things couldn't be worse, a friend will come along to give me that "buzzer beater" moment.  A smile.  A hug.  A note on Facebook that God woke them in the night to pray for me. 

- A prayer that I had been praying for a very long time will be answered in a way that totally amazes me.  God doing things in a mind-blowing manner.  That "come from behind" and win the day moment.

- Strength coming to my spirit, even when I feel like I can't possibly take another step or dribble that ball one more inch.  That "I made it through to the final seconds" moment.

The amazing thing about trust?  The more I do it, the more I want to do it.  The more I see His faithfulness, the more I have faith in Him.  The more I learn to trust that my team will finally win, because it's His team.

So, maybe one year, I'll fill out the entire bracket before the first game is even played.

Or maybe not...!  After all, NCAA teams are not nearly as trustworthy as God!

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