“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
The Final Four is today. Every year, Tammy and I enjoy watching the tournament together. Even though Tammy is not as big a fan as I am, she enjoys filling out a bracket and following her choices through the tournament. She’s always good for some upsets, but she usually fades in the end.
Not this year. She picked two No. 15 seeds to win over No. 2 seeds, and got both of them right. She picked Lehigh to beat Duke and Norfolk State to beat Missouri. I used to think she picked teams based on nicknames, but I think I finally figured out her system. If she likes a team, or has a friend who likes a team, she picks them. It worked this year. She doesn’t like Missouri anymore because they’re leaving the Big 12. She doesn’t like Duke anymore because I got her a “Beat Duke” T-shirt in Chapel Hill last year. With that system, she did very well.
She picked seven of the Elite Eight (she had our favorite team, Kansas State, beating Syracuse). She nailed three of the Final Four (she had North Carolina beating Kansas). She had Ohio State winning the championship game (beating Louisville), because of our friends, the Smiths. Our son-in-law graduated from Louisville. (Before you think she likes the Smiths more than our own son-in-law, she does take seeding into account to a certain extent.)
As I continue to lament how I could have finished so far behind her in our pool, when I’m the one who follows college basketball so closely, I started to think about choices. The second-best choice I ever made in my life was to ask Tammy to be my wife. It has been nearly 31 years of amazing times. We’ve faced difficulties, as all couples do, from health issues for both of us to some tough financial times, and many other things. But God has delivered us through them, we believe, because we have placed our trust in Him.
That brings me to the greatest choice I ever made. That was to accept Jesus as my Savior. I chose Him as my Savior because He first chose to offer Himself as a sacrifice for me. I know I have sinned, and I also know that I cannot have a relationship with God without someone standing in the gap on my behalf. Jesus died on the cross so that I could be forgiven of my sins and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
We’re hopeful, and confident, that’s a long way off for Tammy. The doctors are pleased with her progress so far. She finished the chemo today and now it’s rebuilding time. We won’t know anything, other than daily blood counts until next weekend. Those counts reveal quite a bit to the doctors, but they’re just numbers to us. We just have to trust that they’ll let us know if there’s anything to be concerned about, as they have done all along.
I’m very thankful that you have chosen to go on this ride with us once again. We treasure your friendship and love, and mostly your prayers. I’m also very thankful that Tammy can look past my flaws, and love and trust me. Mostly I’m thankful to God for choosing to make a way for me to be “holy and blameless in His sight.”