13 May 13
Have you ever seen two guys fighting in the ring? I like to watch a good fight, between two pretty evenly skilled men and see who wants it more. I love to watch a great fight between two guys who are not so evenly matched up and see the underdog triumph. The desire to win can lend power to blows, can strengthen the arm despite impossible odds. I have been feeling very much like the underdog lately. I feel beat up by the world, by chance remarks or looks that are probably coincidence but might not be, and the worst beating is coming from myself.
I’ve got me up against the ropes and I am taking body shot after body shot and no fancy footwork is gonna save me. I know exactly where to hit me to inflict the most pain and the most damage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up, that will not happen. But I am struggling. I’m hurt, and the only hope I have is in Jesus Christ. He’s in my corner, but I can’t quite reach Him from where I’m pinned on the ropes. Every time I make a move to reach the corner, I get hit. The worst part of this? Occasionally it’s not me hitting me. Sometimes the blows come from out of nowhere. It’s like the ref takes a shot just because he can, and it always comes when I least expect it.
But the one thing that will not happen is me giving up. I want to win. I want it so bad I can taste it, and even though I know the war is won, I still have to go through the motions on the battlefield and not quit. The impacts are reminders to me that I am still in the battle. This is life. This especially is life as a follower of the Christ. He tells us in the Word that following him is going to be filled with challenges. Well, I must be on the right path, because I am being challenged. The more on course I am, the more the enemy is gonna bombard me with everything his warty hands can throw.
I just have to outlast me. I have to tire me out. Make it through the round to the next bell. Then I will have the chance to rest, catch my breath and get a sip to sustain me through the next round. This fight will not be over until He calls me home. But when I get through each round, and as I am regaining my equilibrium, I can look around at the faces of those who are cheering me on, the ones that are counting on me to persevere. First among these is my wife, Cristy. She’s my biggest fan, even though she has seen me knocked down more than anyone else. My kids are right beside her, cheering on their Daddy. They cannot even conceive my quitting. There are others in my section too; family, friends, neighbors and our Grace family. They all lend strength and help me to keep my eyes focused on the goal of eternity.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
But the one that bolsters my resolve more than any other, is the Man in my corner, rooting for me, washing me clean and telling me that as long as I do what He instructs, I will come out of this bout with a crown. He knows, He’s got a lot of experience in this ring, and He has coached so many other fighters to their rewards.