Buzzers, Brackets, and Prophets

March 22, 2015 1:21 am

Like millions of Americans I’ve filled out my NCAA Tourney brackets for March Madness. That’s ‘brackets’ plural because I like to give myself as many chances as possible to look like an expert. Oh, and a chance at millions of dollars too. Warren Buffett has offered a massive payday for anyone who can successfully predict the outcome of each game. Even the Microsoft Bing brain has a bracket filled out!

Well, I can humbly report that my ability to predict the outcome of these games is less than stellar. Oh sure, I still have a shot at the Final Four – and there’s nothing hard about predicting a Kentucky title this year – but over all my choices remind me that ‘Prophet’ won’t be on my business card anytime soon. In fact, the only thing predictable about the tournament is that its unpredictable. And that’s one reason we love it. We’ll take the David over Goliath surprises that occur with some regularity, so long as its our David and not our Goliath in the match-up.

What’s predictable as well is that people will bet real money on these brackets. Now that really is March Madness. Hey, I’m not talking about a dollar in some office tourney pool, though that little activity nets three billion bucks annually. No, I mean grownup Vegas money. Casinos there will make $100 million this Spring on the Tournament. That’s a lot of people believing in their ability to predict the future and settling in for some nail-biting nights after they do so.

We’d be far healthier people – and probably better off fiscally – if we stopped playing prophet. Its not just a basketball tournament bracket  that exposes our inability to know what tomorrow holds, after all. Every day we get up with our planners filled with predicted meetings only to learn through often painful circumstances that we are not in control of the schedules. Life happens. So does death. Our brackets, and our hearts, are broken.

The best bet for the future is to admit that while we don’t know what it holds we have entrusted our souls and those we love to the One who holds the future. Since that Being already showed us that his Name is Love, I can bid nail-biting nights goodbye and welcome peace, even in the middle of the stuff that reminds us all that we’re really not in control anyway. Centuries ago Blaise Pascal wisely informed us that trusting in the presence and love of God is the best wager in the universe. The cross in the middle of history suggests he’s right. In the madness of life’s uncertainties, lets entrust the full weight of our past, present, and future to God who has loved us so well. Our times are in his hands, and all our days are written in his book before we ever took a breath. By the way, David Cassidy’s Final Four picks: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Georgetown, and Villanova.

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