It’s March, and that means it’s time for madness. Tonight in Chapel Hill, it’s Duke vs. North Carolina one more time. And we don’t mind it at all, as these two teams always live up to the hype.
Duke and North Carolina are archrivals, sworn enemies, and fierce foes. In other words, they just don’t like each other. The competition between then is always bitter and brutal and intense and full of suspense. But it’s the tension and the friction and the pulmonary pressure and coronary and cardiovascular cavitation between them that makes them better together . . . err, that is, they play better when they play each other. Not to mention that the schools have two of the best college coaches in the game prowling the sidelines in Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski.
Duke has won four NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championships—second most of any ACC team, and second only to the University of North Carolina, which has won five. Duke has been in 16 Final Fours; UNC 19. A few years ago, the count was that seventy-one players have been drafted into the NBA from Duke, and eighty-three NBA (and ABA) players attended North Carolina. That’s 154 professional basketball players between these two schools. Not too shabby. And the comparisons and contrasts between the two can go on and on.
The Blue Devils and the Tar Heels have history. They have basketball pedigree and it shows. It’s a heated and spirited, feisty and fiery contest of teams that almost always leaves you on the edge of your seat, if you’re not standing on it screaming at the top your lungs. Both teams have more spunk and more spritz, more guts and more gumbo, more zest and more zeal when they play each other. That’s just the way it is when your adversary shows up and calls you out.
This age-old tangle of basketball titans teaches us a valuable lesson: we need our enemies. That’s right — you NEED your enemies; that’s your fiends and you foes, your slanderers and your saboteurs, your betrayers and your backstabbers; you need them all almost as much as you need your friends.
And, if that’s not enough, get this: God can’t serve you “a six-course dinner” unless your enemies are present. Psalm 23 says that God prepares “a table” for us in the presence of our enemies. So, you say that you don’t want any enemies or adversaries around? Then you can kiss your blessings and you’re benedictions goodbye.
So take it from me. Your enemies bring out your best. And how about this — they bring out the best in us and in our God. God shows Himself strong on our behalf when there is a need for strength. And His strength is made perfect, or made even STRONGER (if that is even possible) in our weakness.
So when your enemy is near and your heart starts to fear, fret not; when our enemy shows up, God will always show out. When our situations are at their worst, our God is at His best.