The 68 teams that made it into the NCAA Tournament have all traveled a unique path to get to this point.

Northwestern’s remarkable accomplishment especially stands out. They are playing in their school’s first NCAA Tournament after previously being the only member of a power conference to never get in. 

Despite the basketball program’s struggles, in 2013 former Duke player and assistant coach, Chris Collins, decided to take on the challenge of becoming head coach.

During his first season, they were 14-19, but a few years later he has turned things around with a 23-10 record and a number eight seed in this year’s tournament. What appeared impossible, became possible.

The word that continues to come up, when I listen to coach Collins in interviews, is the word “belief.” He took this job because he really believed he could have success at Northwestern, and was able to recruit players who had a similar belief.

Even during the initial difficulties and tough losses, they relied onbelief to take them to where they are today. It’s hard to make the tournament if you don’t believe you can get there, but belief is what this team is built on.

I think I join a lot of college basketball fans who are excited for them and rooting to see them make a run. As we consider the importance of belief in the basketball world, I hope we’re reminded that belief is key in our lives as followers of Jesus.

When we believe God is who He says He is, and rely on His word to be true, we are led to fully place our faith in Him. We follow Him as we overcome losses and difficulties…and experience the impossible becoming possible.

Belief is the starting point for so many wonderful things. When we genuinely believe He is powerful, we see transformation take place. When we believe He loves us, we are then able to love others. When we believe He saved us because of the cross, we live with peace and confidence.

In the Bible, John 1:12 (ESV) speaks about what happens when we believe: “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God…”

Jesus tells us in John 14:12(ESV), “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

He also says in John 14:1 (ESV), “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.

Seeing what belief has done for Northwestern should challenge us to take even greater steps of faith because we believe in a loving and powerful God who is right there with us. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please help me with my unbelief. I pray I would believe wholeheartedly in You and Your Word, and that my faith would lead me on an awesome journey with Jesus. I know so much can happen when I believe and place my trust in You. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.