March Madness equates to basketball out the wazoo! Any good Kentucky girl recognizes March as a time for hoops and hoops and more hoops. Kentucky is a sea of bluegrass and blue Wildcat apparel. It's safe to say we know about religion in the bluegrass - the kind that has you sitting in a pew on Sunday morning, for sure. But maybe just as well or more celebrated is the kind of religion that has you sitting in the nosebleed section of Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY, for any given game if you are ever lucky enough to score tickets to see the beloved CATS. I've told people that it would be easier to get an organ transplant than to get a ticket to a ballgame to see the Kentucky Wildcats. All that to say, if you are from Kentucky, as I am, you know a little bit about basketball and you bleed blue throughout the year, but especially in March. The struggle is real to get our religions in the right order!
All this basketball excitement prompted me to think about a pretty common occurrence in the game of basketball. All basketball games have an offense and a defense. And most all basketball players commit offensive and/or defensive fouls. Some of those fouls lead to an opportunity for the person whom was fouled to take one or more free shots at the basketball goal without any hindrance. Free throws are the game of basketball's way of extending grace. You stand alone, unhindered and unopposed, at the line and aim towards the goal.
As humans, we commit fouls against others and they commit fouls against us. We have all done foul things and had foul things done to us. And we have all been given a chance to take a free throw towards the goal that really counts for eternity. That's a sweet picture. We have a chance to make something good come about from the bad. We get a free shot. Yea, that truly is grace. It's sweet victory.
So, I'll root for my CATS this March and I'll watch a variety of teams take on the excitement of March Madness. I'll see Cinderella teams win games as they win our hearts. Lots of fouls will be committed. Lots of free throws will be awarded. Some will be made and some will be missed. The parallels between the game of basketball and the reality of life will keep us on the edge of our seats.
The take-away from all this is simple. Fouls will occur. Free throws will occur. Some will make their shots. Some will miss their shots. Some will win and some will lose. All I know is that I'm a Kentucky girl who loves her CATS, but loves God even more. I'm grateful for grace and forgiveness. I'm grateful for the free shots I've been given when fouls have occurred. I'm grateful that there is a goal worth shooting for. I'm grateful for heaven. Yes, we may all have fouls in life, but we can also use those fouls to reach victory. Basically, we all get a free shot at some time or another! That's grace,