March Madness (By Jon Perkins)

It is my favorite time of the sports year. Opening Day for baseball, NFL Draft, The Masters, and of course, March Madness. As a sports fan, you can’t ask for a better month. Each of those events brings a new level of excitement to most sports fans and even to people who don’t like sports. But out of those, the one that has the most appeal to both sports fans and non-sports fans is March Madness.
In case you don’t know, March Madness is the NCAA basketball tournament. Basically, it is the top 68 teams playing over 3 weekends in a single elimination tournament. All games are played on neutral courts throughout the country, divided into 4 different regions (East, South, Midwest, and West). What makes March Madness so exciting are the upsets. That is when a lower seeded team eliminates a higher seeded team. One of the reason those upsets are so exciting is because of the bracket challenge. Every year, people from all different sports fandom fill out brackets, hoping to pick the overall winner. There are tournament brackets in all types of offices, schools, and homes. In fact, in 2017, more than 70 million people filled out an NCAA tournament bracket.
Everyone has their particular method to fill out their bracket. Some people pick teams because of their mascots, while others pick teams based on if they or someone they know are alumni. I know people who have picked teams based on colors or the state the school is located. Let’s not forget the ones who spend hours agonizing over every pick, looking at every random factor from neutral court victories to shooting percentage depending on game time and everything in between. I will not got into too much detail, but one year I stayed up all night studying every team by looking at who they played and who that team played, and so on and so forth for about 8 connections deep. While we pick teams for different reasons, still one goal remains the same: pick the champion!
A team’s faults, limitations, location, uniform color, or mascot keeps people from picking them in their bracket. Thankfully, God does not work that way. The beginning of Psalm 139:14 reads, “…for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” So from your beginning, God created you “wonderfully.” What a great truth to hide in your heart!
He doesn’t stop there. In Philippians 1:6, Paul writes, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” That is reminding us that God is not done with us. He is continually working in us and will not stop. And if those two truths are not enough, Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:12 that we are “God’s chosen ones.”

We might not be picked in a bracket because of a variety of reasons, but God wants us and created us for His purpose. Christ’s love for us is not based on our merits or how good we or others think we are. He loved us first. As a follower of Christ, we need to hold tight and closely to the promises that we were “wonderfully made,” that “[he] began a good work in you and will bring it to completion,” and we are “chosen ones” when we feel defeated or that we don’t belong. If the Creator of the universe wants you, then our only action is to praise Him.