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My bracket and God's word

I just finished filling out my bracket for the tournament.  For several years, we’ve had a friendly little competition within our family.  Everyone fills out brackets.  A few of us are solid basketball fans.  We watch a lot of games during the season, are familiar with most of the teams, appreciate the match-ups, history, and nuances of the tournament.  We can talk a good game.  That said, our twenty-year old daughter is going for her fourth consecutive brackets crown this year.  She’s the UCONN (women’s team of course), of brackets in our family.  I could deal with this better if she was a basketball fan but she possibly knows the least about the tournament of any of us.  One year (I think it was the first year of her dynasty), her picks were based on which team’s cheerleaders’ outfits she liked the best. 

This would also be easier to take if I wasn’t such a fan of the game, but I’ve been following it all of my life.  I remember UTEP winning in 1966 (only they were Texas Western then).  I don’t remember it for for the historic nature of the occasion (the first all-black team in the finals), but for the fact that my dad was a huge Kentucky fan and I recall how disappointed he was.  I remember after that how the tournament became the UCLA Invitational and year after year they won with Kareem Abdul Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor), Bill Walton, and the coach of all coaches, John Wooden.  The Bruins were like the Yankees --- you either loved them or hated them.  Following my father’s lead, I didn’t love them.  I remember lying in bed with my transistor radio pressed tight against my ear listening to the UCLA-Houston semi-final game in 1968.  Houston and Elvin Hayes had beaten them earlier in the season and I thought (hoped) that they could do it again.  But it was not to be.  It was not even close.  UCLA won 101-69.  It wouldn’t be until 1974 that North Carolina State, led by the David Thompson and his remarkable 48-inch vertical leaping ability, would finally knock Goliath from their throne.   So I’ve followed the game for a while and I feel like this should somehow translate into superior picking ability --- but it doesn’t. 

That being the case, I’ve learned to accept it and find my satisfaction in the days preceding the tournament when my brackets are filled out and unblemished.  I luxuriate in their state of perfection.  I’ve learned to enjoy it while I can because this bliss will end as soon as the games begin.  By the middle of Thursday afternoon my brackets will look more chaotic than the latest version of health care reform or Toyota’s recall plan.  I’ll be wondering why I picked a team that just lost by twenty points to win three games.  I’ll be asking how someone with as much basketball background as I have could keep picking a team that perennially disappoints me.  Or, I’ll be wondering why I didn’t hang on just one more year with a team as this turns out to be their breakthrough year.  I’ll dread getting on the website to check the standings.  I know my daughter’s bracket will be floating at the top like she wrote it in helium.  And worst of all, there’s the scenario generator --- that mocking little number crunching application that lets you know that even though it’s just the first weekend of the tournament, you’ve already been mathematically eliminated from winning.

Well, if you’ve made it this far then what I really want to say is that all of this just shows how hard it is to predict the future.  Nostradamus would have had trouble with the brackets.  This should just make us marvel at the predictive prophecy of the Bible.  The test of a prophet was simple:  one miss and you were done (Deuteronomy 18:21-22), and false prophets were put to death (v. 20).  The bar couldn’t have been any higher.  When you consider all of the predictions (and their fulfillments), which are woven into the Scripture, it is absolutely overwhelming.  The Bible we hold in our hand is the living, active word of God.  There is no other possible explanation. 

No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit,” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

My brackets will always be a mess because I can't see past today.  God's word will always be powerful and penetrating because He sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). 
That's good news!
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