The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Boxer

From my friend, Pat Pennington

I was surfing our cable stations the other night and stopped to watch what looked like a good boxing match. Two fighters were slugging it out just beating each other up. One fighter knocked the other guy down 2 times in one round and 2 more times in the next round—but the other guy kept getting back up and kept fighting. Guess who won the fight.

It made me think, sometimes life knocks us down. Sometimes life can be a struggle and a fight.

Like a boxer drops to one knee after a punch from his opponent, we can be struck down by insensitive or hateful people or untimely problems. A critical evaluation of our work by our boss can feel like a jab to our face. A family member or friend’s decision to walk away from us is like a kick in the stomach. Financial pressure, relational stress, physical illness and religious persecution can all take a toll on our soul. Life can just beat us up.

But even if we get knocked down or fall on our face, God’s grace lifts us up. At times we may be down, but with Jesus in our corner we are never really out. 

Also when we find ourselves down (or think we are), it means the Lord is up to something. When we are on our backs, we look up to Him for hope. When we are stressed, our Savior gives us a refuge of rest. When we hurt He heals. When we drift, He disciplines us. And what always gives me hope is knowing that our Savior Jesus will never abandon us when others walk away. Disappointment drags us down toward despair, but Jesus lifts us up and repairs our broken dreams. A transition may feel long, but He grows our faith through it. Down, but not out. 

Society's way of life and the culture today may give way to unrighteousness, but the Righteous One still reigns. The Body of Christ may suffer a black eye from our judgmental attitudes and apathy toward sin. But God’s influence has not been extinguished. The church is blemished because it is made up of imperfect people. Its reputation is bruised but the Lord’s reputation is without question. Jesus lifts up His bride, the church, to bring Him glory. 

So we look to the Lord to lift us up. God takes pleasure in the praises of His people, so we should praise Him in the middle of our troubles and problems.  As we lift Him up in worship our heavenly Father lifts us up in His love and sweet fellowship. By faith, Christ comforts our downcast soul. We can persevere through trials. We don’t give up, because Jesus lifts us up. We take a step back for Him to prepare our hearts, then we move forward confidently in His strength. People of faith can get knocked down but they will always get back up and keep fighting.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8&9 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down but never destroyed”.

So always get up and stay in the fight!



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