So, how’s your bracket?  Bruised, battered, and/or busted?  All I can say is, “Paladins and Tigers and Knights, Oh my!

This week, 1,020 men’s college basketball players on 68 teams began pursuing a dream together and taking their fans with them. Yes, there’s been some big unexpected upsets this first round, provoking cheers or tears, depending on one’s perspective.  Congrats to those who did the upsetting and won. Condolences to those who were upset and are suffering unexpected loss.

Life can be a lot like sports. Sometimes you get a “win” (particularly an unexpected one) and you celebrate and your confidence grows. Other times, your confidence is high and you experience a “loss” or failure and you’re left with pain, confusion, and questions.  We’ve all been in both camps and probably will again. It’s real life.

I’m reminded of a team of twelve who were confident getting into a boat and traveling at the direction of their head coach. At least four were veterans on the water and undoubtedly set the tone for the others. Midway through, an unexpectedly furious squall came upon them and battered the boat and their confidence.

It got so bad; they accused their coach of not caring about what was happening or if they died. In response, Jesus got up in the boat and powerfully called a time out– stilling the fierce wind and waves with the words, “Quiet! Be still!” He then matter-of-factly told them the intensity of their fear was related to their lack of attention to faith in him and what he said. Got it, message received coach!  (Mark 4:35-41)

Let’s center on Jesus, preparing better for life’s unexpected storms!