Our ten years in Tucson prior to coming to Tempe saw us develop an affinity for and somewhat distant loyalty to the University of Arizona basketball team. (Sorry to my CPTC ASU fans!) While the Wildcats are not as good this year as they have been in the past, they did make it into the NCAA Tournament and will play their first game on March 17 in Louisville, Kentucky. They call it March Madness; and to a point, it is!
There is a term that characterizes those teams who go to the tournament and only play one game: One and Done! My hope is that U of A will go farther than one game, but that is my “hope.” That hope is wishful thinking and will be determined by a lot of “what ifs.” Many things determine how deep into the tournament a team can go: personal abilities and strengths, the game plan, the opponent, the coaching, the enthusiasm of fans, the referees, and playing as a team. On any given day my hope can be just that, my hope, because I cannot personally control any of those factors.
In retrospect, many call God’s plan “madness.” They conclude that the crucifixion was a “one and done.” They say the death of Christ was meaningless and that nothing was accomplished by His death. Jesus died, was buried, and that was “the end.” Not so!
From eternity past, God had a “game plan.” He knew the “opponent.” Knowing that man would fail and disobey and that sin would break the desired fellowship and relationship between the Creator and the created, He put in place a plan to allow restoration and reconciliation. It was called, The Cross; and it required that His Son, Jesus Christ, go to that cross and pay the price for the sins of all mankind. That plan would be a game changer! But the plan did not end at the cross!
THE event that changes my hope from wishful thinking to a living hope is the resurrection! Jesus lives! Writing in 1 Peter 1:3, Peter puts it like this, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Some years back, Sports Illustrated did an article on the Greatest Comebacks in History. Yes, it was about teams, individuals making dramatic comebacks to enjoy victory. When there did not seem to be any hope, they prevailed. Guess what, Jesus’ comeback from the grave ranked number one! His was the ultimate victory, seriously!
I do hope that U of A gets to play beyond the first game, but this I know: Jesus Christ is the winner and the “game” isn’t over until He returns again. What’s your game plan? To hope or to know?