I’ve never been much of a fighter.
The whole “Meet me behind the gym after school” thing was never my style. In fact, I can only remember one time when I was in a ‘real fight’ where people were actually gathered to watch. I’d like to say it was a good fight, but it wasn’t. It was embarrassing on both sides.
As a result of my relatively peaceful past, I am pretty unfamiliar with being hit or otherwise struck, which made tonight’s event “eye-opening“. I had been working out and set a 45 pound bar on the rack, at about eye-level. I was working on something else, forgot where I was, turned around and smacked right into it…. with my face. My eye to be exact. So I’m writing this blog with a slightly swollen eye. Embarrassing? Not nearly as bad as that fight I told you about.
As with any bad circumstance, some good can come of my painful experience. It made me think of how we can be caught off-guard by a proverbial right-hook from life. Has it ever happened to you? Things are going good. The sun is shining, the traffic is moving, and gas prices are 20 cents lower than yesterday. This is your kind of day! Then, out of nowhere, you’re caught with a right hook!
You get an email from someone asking how you could’ve forgotten your lunch date with them yesterday. They never want to speak to you again, by the way, which will be interesting because you attend the same church….
You get a late notice on a bill that was due 3 months ago. Really? How did I miss that 3 months in a row?
You get a call from your child’s principal. He wants to meet with you to discuss little Jimmy’s creative way of eating his lunch. Isn’t he supposed to be a princi-pal? He sure didn’t seem very friendly on the phone.
Yes, the right hook. It’s not always from the devil himself, either. Sometimes it’s just life that catches us off-guard and lands a solid punch to our jaw. In our unprepared state we’re knocked off balance and find ourselves disoriented and dazed. We’re not sure which direction it came from, but we’re pretty sure we were just hit by a truck. How are we supposed to deal with this….. abuse?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds… (James 1:2 NIV)
Consider it joy? How can we and why should we? What good can come from a meeting with Jimmy’s principal? How can a late bill be a good thing? And what am I supposed to do about the new enemy I’ve made at church? How can these things be good, much less joyful?
…because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:3, 4 NIV)
It’s all about the growth. The learning. The development.
The tough times we go through in life – direct attacks from the enemy and random inconveniences – are times of training. As we encounter these tests we’re able to grow both stronger and quicker. Before long we find we are dodging that right hook when it comes our way. How? Instead of getting upset, we respond to the issue with a peace and joy that we can hardly believe ourself. Rather than getting the wind knocked out of us, we throw a right hook of our own and put the situation down for the count.
Life will throw punches and sometimes it lands a hard one. But don’t give up, use the opportunity as training to help you prepare for the next round. A good fighter learns to anticipate the opponent’s moves and plans for it.
You know, boxing gloves aren’t listed as part of our spiritual armor in the bible, but I think you can still put them on.
Oh, and tell Jimmy’s principal that you like his tie. It may help break the ice.
What do you think? Has life ever dealt you a right hook? How did you respond to or learn from it? Scroll down and leave your comments below!
Photo by Generationbass, Flickr Creative Commons