In the 1960’s, pop singer Dusty Springfield had a huge hit entitled “Wishing and Hoping,” and, last night, the NCAA men’s basketball community celebrated its annual homage to that great song. It consisted of lower-ranked big conference teams, mid-major teams, and small conference teams waiting to see if, and in some cases, where they would be picked to play in the Big Dance. Out of all the hopefuls, however, the opportunities had already been diminished from the opening field of 68 teams by those who were assured spots by winning conference championships. With a limited number of slots available for the remaining teams, cameras followed the emotional roller coaster of teams wishing and hoping for a shot at March Madness. For most of them, nothing was certain. Everything was a guess until the final selection had been announced. Some teams celebrated with their fans, while the rest tried to console themselves with the possibility of the NIT coming calling.
What made that night so emotional was the uncertainty of it all. Never knowing if you had done enough, if your RPI was solid, and if you had enough “marquee” wins to sway the selection committee into giving you a golden ticket to the promised land. Wishing and hoping. For some it brought ecstasy, and the rest agony. Wishing and hoping.
That’s okay for college basketball, but, unfortunately, some people think that heaven works that way, too. Always uncertain, and always wondering if my good deeds outweighed my bad deeds by a wide enough margin to get me inside the “pearly gates.” Wishing and hoping just isn’t good enough when it comes to where you will spend eternity. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that, because of what Christ has done (not based on what we have done) we don’t have to merely wish and hope. We are told that we can be certain of our eternal home. The apostle John wrote in the New testament, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13). The key word is know. In Christ we can have certain knowledge of where we will spend forever. In a world of wishing and hoping, the Bible says we can know, and that knowing can give us a confident hope about our eternal destiny—not just wishful thinking.
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain