Like millions of other basketball fans, a couple of weeks ago I went online and filled out a bracket with the teams that I predicted would win and lose games in the NCAA basketball championship. Not only did we pick teams to win the games, we picked the two teams we thought would play in the final game, as well as the final score. Forty-eight games later (Yes, I will watch most of them and I will love it!), we look at our brackets and realize that our spiritual gift is not that of prophecy.
It did not take a basketball tournament to remind me that predicting the future is not one of my life skills.
I can remember commenting about how foolish people looked while walking down the street talking on their mobile phone. Now I rarely go anywhere without mine.
I can remember judging people as extravagant when I saw their 26" television. I've watched all those basketball games on the 42" flat screen hanging on our wall.
I can remember thinking that paying $.60 for a gallon of gas seemed outrageous. Last week I paid $2.59 a gallon.
I can remember, before I was married, watching couples and saying, "When I'm married I'll never treat my wife like that."
I can also remember, before I had children, watching parents deal with their children and saying, "My child will never do that."
I can remember last year filling out my brackets, making my predictions of who would win and who would lose, then asking myself, "Why do I do this? I can't predict who is going to win a basketball game."
I can remember looking at families and saying with absolute confidence, "They are a great family. They seem to have it all together. Great kids. Great marriage. They will make it." Only to learn later that I had no idea what went on behind closed doors.
I am learning and accepting that I am not very good at predicting the future. I do, however, take comfort in knowing that I am not alone.
Peter told Jesus he would follow him anywhere and would be willing to die for him if necessary. He denied him three times before the rooster crowed the next morning.
The disciples promised to stay with Jesus when all others turned away. When he went to the cross he was alone.
When a discussion about the destruction of Jerusalem and end of time surfaced, there were all kinds of theories and predictions. Jesus said the following things:
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:35-37 NIV).
Even with my poor record for predicting the future in the NCAA tournament, there are some predictions that — with God's help and the Scriptures to back me up — I can make with confidence.
For instance, we will all give an account to God for the life that we live:
It is written: "As surely as I live," says the Lord, "every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God." So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:11-12 NIV).
We will all bow before the Lord:
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:8-11 NIV).
Those who believe in the Son will have eternal life:
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him (John 3:35-36 NIV).
If my prediction for the winner of the NCAA Basketball Championship does not come true, I will be disappointed. However, if I ignore the predictions of Scripture, I will regret it for eternity.