It happens every year. The sorry state of my brackets has little to do with my knowledge of who’s who in college basketball and everything to do with the fact that I can’t help but bet on an underdog.
I know I’m not alone in this. Every year March Madness enthusiasts wait expectantly for “Cinderella” to emerge. For one unlikely team to defy the odds. For one unlikely team to slay the giant. For one unlikely team to show up to the ball and dance.
As a nation, as fans of the game, we love it. It’s what makes March Madness and tournament time so sweet.
As I consider my love for an underdog story, I’m reminded of the fact that for every Cinderella, for every underdog out there, there is an ugly stepsister or a nasty giant that stands on the sidelines and taunts…
“What are you thinking, Cinderella? You’re too ugly to go to the ball.”
“You’ll never win. You’re not smart enough, strong enough, skilled enough to beat me.”
“It’s impossible. You might as well, go home, give up, forget it.”
Sound familiar? I don’t know about you but the ugly stepsisters and the giants sound an awful lot like the voice I hear inside my head whenever I sit down at my computer to write…
“What do you think you’re doing? You don’t have anything important to say.”
When I start another day of school with my daughter…
“Homeschool? What makes you think you’ve got what it takes to homeschool your daughter?”
When I fight with my husband…
“He doesn’t love you. You’re such a screw-up. No one’s marriage is as wrecked as yours.”
Or when I risk my heart in relationship…
“What do you have to offer? Why would they be interested in you? What are you thinking inviting them over, your house is a mess?”
In his book, Waking the Dead, John Eldredge writes, “Any movement toward freedom and life, any movement toward God or others, will be opposed. Marriage, friendship, beauty, rest— the thief wants it all.”
The taunts from the sidelines are endless because the thief does want it all.
So what do we do?
Perhaps the best we thing we can do is look to the most famous underdog of all-time and notice what he did when it was his turn to face the giant.
“Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted out his usual defiance, and David heard it. When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear. Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel.” […] David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (Samuel 17: 21-26 NIV)
Who is this Philistine? I can just see David now, full of holy swagger, sizing up the giant before him. Refusing to give way to fear, David relied on his faith, his knowledge, and his confidence in God to silence the taunts from the sidelines. David knew that God was with him, and that Goliath wasn’t just picking a fight with a young boy from Israel but with God himself.
In one way or another we’re all underdogs and whenever we make a move toward God and his Kingdom, whenever we stand on the edge of a battle and size up the giants before us, we’re bound to be taunted by Satan and his lies.
When the voice of the giant echoes in your mind, remember David, remember that the God of Angel Armies is with you. The living God is on your side.
Don’t give way to fear. Throw the stones. Slay the giant. Show up to the ball. And dance.
I’d love to hear from you. What giants are you facing? When do you feel the most opposed? What’s your favorite underdog story?