March Madness right here in Missouri

Suddenly those brackets don’t mean much anymore.

Basketball usually doesn’t capture my attention, especially professional basketball. I’ve never gotten interested in that style of game, Michael Jordan’s run was pretty special but other than that I don’t tune in.

But the NCAA tournament offers a special kind of excitement, with the one and done approach anyone can win on any given night. Folks here in the show me state have learned that the hard way. We’re going to have some Tiger fans in shock over the weekend, trying to figure out what happened with a team called Norfolk St. that few people had heard of. It looks like MO is in good company too, Duke lost to Lehigh and Michigan fell to Ohio.

Don’t these smaller schools know better than to believe they can win against the larger, more established basketball powerhouses?

The unpredictability of it makes it fun to watch. I was even intrigued by Harvard and Vanderbilt (the Harvard of the south) the other day. The publicity is good for all those players who don’t get the TV time or get the attention like other big schools. Good for them. I like pulling for the underdog, except when it’s against one of my teams. At least Creighton beat Alabama, that’s a double whammy of being a Valley conference school beating the Tide.

Seeing these upsets is entertaining, and once again a reminder that great things are possible for those who believe enough and work hard enough. 

I’m working through some of Elijah’s struggles (now I’m talking about the Bible) and more specificly his situation in I Kings 17 when he told Ahab off and then hid from him as the Lord directed. He was fed by ravens two square meals a day and had water to drink from a brook. But the brook dried up and the Lord directed him to a widow who would provide enough food for him to survive during the famine. It hadn’t rained for several years, a sign of God’s judgment on the people for their behavior.

I’ve read this story on more than one occasion, but have found particular interest in it and not simply because it happens to be my sermon text for Sunday.

It’s become clearer to me that God can provide for his people who believe Him and obey Him, no matter how unlikely or impossible things look or sound. I like that. And I think pastors and their congregations are in need of being reminded that God is still God, even after all these years. His Word still applies to his people too.

This is a good kind of “madness” and I am grateful for the surprises in life that come our way, things that we can’t predict or normally would expect. Like Norfolk St or Lehigh getting it done against seemingly impossible odds. These events that challenge are opportunities for faith, and these things never fail to catch me off guard and occur when I least expect it.

I heard a story about a man involved in a terrible plan crash; a single engine plane that turned over on the runway. He recovered from the traumatic event but learned to appreciate life even more. He said, “I learned things I didn’t know I needed to learn.”

It’s easy to become attached to that brook we’ve been depending on. When it is taken from us, we are forced into a new place that requires particular attention to what the Lord is saying to us. It can be frightening, and when this occurs we need to hear what Elijah said to the widow: “don’t be afraid.”

These are good words, especially when life throws us some upsets and unpredictable outcomes.








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