On my official bracket I cannot pick anyone else but Duke to win. I know their chances are slim this year but I have hope they can do it. I’m a Blue Devil fan and to admit they cannot make it seems to make me less of a fan. I witnessed two UNC fans place a bet with one another. One bet UNC would go all the way and the other bet they wouldn’t. This proves some things about UNC fans but the point is a ‘fan’ bet against his team. Are you a trully a fan if you do that? I you don’t think your team can make it all the way does that make you less of a fan?
At church we would say that would make you weak in your faith. True, hardcore faith is the believe in God and that with God anything is possible. Yet if I asked God to save me as I jumped off a roof, would God? Can you be faithful and believe that God cannot do everything we ask? Yet God has done many miracles in this world, cured people, saved people, transformed people, is there a limit to God’s ability?
This may seem like a loose connection between college basketball fans and theology but these are questions my, and probably many other, parishioners and pastors for that matter, deal with. Doubt can set in. We struggle with what we see and what is on our hearts. For Christians though we are given something that helps us get through all this…hope.
There is a difference between optimism and hope. Miroslav Volf wrote in a 2004 article in The Christian Century, “Hope is not based on the possibilities of the situation and on correct extrapolartion about the future. Hope is grounded in the faithfulness of God and therefore on the effectiveness of God’s promise…Optimism is based on the possibilities of things as they have come to be; hope is based on the possibilities of God irrespective of how things are.” (Quoted in Bishop Larry Goodpaster‘s book, There’s Power in the Connection, p. 126)
Hope is rooted in something beyond this world. As we fill out brackets and watch 32 games in the next 48 hours, there is hope that my team wins. But deeper hope is found in the knowledge that in the end, no matter how it all plays out, God wins.