Written by Sam Lisak / March 2018

March Madness is one of the most exciting times of the year for sports fans. Fans look forward to the NCAA Tournament starting off with almost 4 days of continuous basketball. While always having a game to watch is a big deal, another huge part of the tournament is looking for the upsets. It’s always exciting to see players from much smaller and less prestigious basketball programs defying the odds and beating the supposedly better team. Another big attraction with the tournament is the bracket madness that goes with it. Millions of people create countless amounts of brackets to try and get a perfect one. Ignoring the 1 in 9.2 quintillion odds, people spend hours going over projections and different scenarios to try and get the perfect bracket, and prizes that people like Warren Buffett or companies like Acura or Allstate offer to those who get a perfect bracket. Still no one has yet to get a perfect bracket, and I don’t think we’ll see one anytime soon.

While the odds against getting a perfect bracket may be high, there are even greater odds which we face everyday. We can think of our lives as a bracket, except instead of being rewarded with millions of dollars from Warren Buffett, our prize is eternal life in heaven. All we have to do is follow God’s commands perfectly. This does not work out well for us sinners. Our odds are so bad, that we lost before we could even take the court. We hear in Psalm 51:5, “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” Before we could even think about playing in the first game, we had lost and were given no shot at the prize. Even worse for us is that because we did not win, we are condemned to hell. This is a situation much more intense and serious than March Madness.

Thankfully for us, we aren’t the only ones on the team. We are far from the most important player on our team. We have God on our team, who sent his Son to take our place for us. He obeyed all the commands and took the punishment that we deserved. With God on our team, when we look at the scoreboard of life, we no longer see us losing but instead it probably looks more like in Space Jam when the Monstars scored so much it just said, “Seems a little one sided.” He can easily help us overcome any trouble we have.

Through God, we became a 16 seed upending a one seed, something that was unique and actually happened this year. One thing particularly interesting about that game this year was something that happened before small school UMBC defeated powerhouse Virginia. A basketball analyst tweeted out before the game, “Virginia. Sharpie” indicating that he thought the game was well over before it even started. Being human we know he could not be 100% percent certain that this event would happen because nothing is guaranteed on Earth. God has done the same thing to us, but unlike that analyst, we don’t have to think about how there’s a small percentage He could be wrong. We learn in Luke 10:20, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” He has called us saved and redeemed and written that in sharpie. We know we have eternal life through God.

Filling out brackets is still very fun even though many of us know that we aren’t going to have a perfect bracket and get the millions or free cars promised for guessing correctly 63 times which. We can guarantee failure. But the rewards we look towards from the bracket are merely earthly blessings. God however focuses on our more important eternal lives, where we can guarantee success in that Jesus won for us, and gave us the gift of eternal life.