What seems impossible actually happens sometimes.
Every year, the national news conversation leans toward the NCAA college basketball tournament. The overall experience is called March Madness. Sports analysts go into high gear, the words “Tournament brackets” become part of everyday vocabulary for millions of people and even everyday casual fans seem to go kinda berserk during this season.
March Madness fits as a title not just because of the hoopla, but because every year, major upsets happen on the court. Top teams from storied schools get beat by unheralded lesser teams. Every spring, Goliaths fall.
Just last night, what was arguably the weakest team invited to this year’s tournament stomped the best team. UMBC beat the University of Virginia. You’re wondering who UMBC is, right? That’s the point. March Madness.
The unthinkable happens.
It happens in the world of sports and it happens where it matters so much more, namely the spiritual world. This matters because this is where our souls are fed.
There are times when we look at things in the world or in our own lives and we think, “How can anything good come out of this?”
It’s precisely then that we need to remember, the unthinkable happens.
Just as sports fans annually enjoy March Madness, each and every year the Church gets to celebrate the Lenten Season, which, when engaged fully, represents a roller coaster journey that ends with victory. There’s never been a greater triumph, a more unpredictable upset than the resurrection. Death was the ultimate Goliath, but then Jesus did the unthinkable.
With what’s left of the season, let me encourage you – don’t just jump to the end of the empty tomb and celebrate the big win. We rob ourselves of some incredible and important lessons if we don’t embrace the full story of Jesus and His followers during this season. The journey to the empty tomb reminds us of what to expect in this messed up world. It helps us re-center our minds, our hearts, our lives for what we walk through on the way to Glory.
The full story reminds us that the road to Glory is marked by struggle. Jesus, the Lord of Glory Himself, suffered like no other. He came to live as a man and to defeat the curse of death by dying. His bloodied, lifeless body was placed in a dark tomb.
Nobody knew then what we know now; God was, in the darkest moment of human existence, actually accomplishing redemption.
God often works through unthinkable situations for His glory. We know that victory requires challenge and miracles require a mess. It’s important for us to remember the story and remind ourselves of this when life is hard.
There is no promise we will understand everything, or even half the things that happen either to us or around us in this world. But we know this – He is trustworthy even in struggle and darkness. Our “darkness” creates no confusion or fear for our Lord. He’s proven that.
In darkness He spoke light. To darkness, Jesus came. In the outer darkness of the curse for our sin, He hung alone. He still won the battle for our souls.
Even in the dark places of our lives where we are confused and hurt, we will not be ultimately overcome. That’s a great message to remember with others this Lenten Season.
Let this excerpt encourage your heart…
“It will often look as though Christ is defeated…If China was closed for forty years to the western missionaries, it was not as though Jesus accidentally slipped and fell into the tomb. He stepped in. And when it was sealed over, He saved fifty million Chinese from the inside – without Western missionaries. And when it was time, He pushed the stone away so we could see what He had done…When it looks as though He is buried for good, Jesus is doing something awesome in the dark. The world thinks Jesus is done for – out of the way. They think His Word is buried and His plans have failed. But Jesus is at work in the dark place…He lets Himself be buried and He comes out in power when and where He pleases. And His hands are full of fruit made in the dark.” Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 65
Praying for your heart to be encouraged!