March Madness

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”  John 16:20

I love college basketball.  It is both exciting and frustrating at time.  Watching these you men grow throughout the year and then play for conference championships and for some of the best teams a national championship.  The big tournament for the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Championship has also been dubbed March Madness.  It is truly maddening to watch these smaller and larger schools working so hard to become champions.

I am a fan of University of Virginia Men’s Basketball Team.  In March of 2018 Virginia’s team was one of the best in the county earning one of four number one seeds in the tournament.  As a number one they face a number sixteen seed in that region.  It was a historic tournament for Virginia, but not in the way you may think.  They became the first number one seed to lose to a number sixteen seed in the history of the tournament.  For Virginia and its fans this was a crushing defeat.  However, because of their loss another team had a chance to go further and live their dream.

It does seem like madness for so much to be riding on one game.  For some of these young men, it is the last game in their careers, while others will have many long months until they get a chance to try again.

I often wonder, would they want a do over to change things, or to do things differently?  In life there are no guarantees or do overs.  However, in the madness of life we can find hope of a different kind.  It was madness that a good man, an innocent man, healer, teacher, and the Son of God would die so quickly.  All of his teachings, healing, and miracles  would come to an end.

The madness is, that no matter how good a team is, it is one and done.  Is the same true for life?  Three days after Jesus breathed his last breath the tomb was empty, and Jesus had risen from the grave.  This wasn’t a do over, but actually the completion of his work.  Not a chance to do the same thing over again, but to have new life beyond the pain of  devastating loss.

I cannot speak for any of the players of coaching staff, but my suspicion is they would not want a do over either.  My guess is they, like most of us, would want new life and the hope and promise that comes along with it.  Whatever this season or season of life may bring, may the hope and promise of new life turn the madness into gladness and sorrow into joy.

Make Time

February seems to have a little something for everyone.  Groundhog Day, Super Bowl, start of NASCAR season, some baseball teams begin Spring Training, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Ladies Tea, and so much more.

February is the shortest month of the year, yet there is so much that happens in February.  It got me to thinking about the brevity of life.  In the span of history and the scope of eternity, life is but a brief moment.  Brief, but filled with joy, sorrow, plans, and possibilities.

Life for some might be reduced to a series of events or accomplishments.  However, life shouldn’t be reduced to a resume, scrap-book, or obituary.  Life is for the living.  It involves relationships.  Taking time, even though there isn’t much to appreciate the world around us and the people we are blessed to know.

It isn’t wrong to make plans and have goals, but also do not forget to allow life to change, shape, and mold our days.  It may be in these “interruptions” of life that we see a little more Christ in the details, Christ in others, and are becoming more like him.

Life is short and we try to pack so much into our lives, don’t forget to enjoy the wonder of living, the blessings of friends and family, and the grace of Jesus Christ.  This brief life is the beginning of our journey from brevity to eternity in our continuing relationship with Jesus, who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  He is the “Great I Am.”

Don’t let the busyness of life distract you from the blessedness of relationships with Christ and others.  See Jesus in others and Be Jesus to others.  Stop, look, and listen as relationships will grow and strengthen through the years.  In the years to come it is the relationships that will make the difference, in life and eternity.

Make time and take time for each other.