For God’s Sake, FIGHT!

Posted: April 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

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“I’m not going to end you, but I’m going to break you if it makes you stronger.” -Chad Laprise

I will always remember one day at the gym very clearly; in fact, this day in particular is the reason this entire experience came to fruition. Up to this point in my life, this session was probably one of the most pivotal moments in my spiritual journey. It was early into our training, and God decided to reveal Himself to me in the most unique and painful way. This specific day was going to be terrible; I knew it from the beginning. I had just come off a night shift two hours earlier. I had been beyond sick for two weeks prior and I had nothing but a banana for breakfast. I entered the gym knowing that I’d be in terrible shape that morning. To my credit, regardless of my tiredness and my sickness, I didn’t want to say “no” to Chad, so willingly and ready I showed up. After an hour of an absolutely brutal work out, interrupted multiple times by trips to the bathroom to toss up my breakfast banana, Chad told me to put my gloves back on as we were going to spar in the ring for the last few minutes of the session.

No. Sorry, bud. I was gassed and I was done. I wasn’t just exhausted — I had nothing left. The tank was empty. I told him, “I’m done”. I stopped, or so I thought I did. What I didn’t realize was that as we talked and as I argued through the final moments of our session, we made our way into the ring and, from the training earlier, I still had my gloves on. At this point, according to Chad, stopping wasn’t really my option. Chad set his feet, raised his gloves and started coming at me. He was slow to start, but he relentlessly pursued. I told him a few times, “Seriously, man, I can’t. I’m too weak and I’m done.” He threw a punch and landed it square in the middle of my forehead. My hands were down at my waist. “Hands up!” he yelled, and he drew in again for another shot. He launched a hook hard at my right, but my hands were up, so I just barely blocked it. Again I reminded him, “Chad, really, I’m done.” I turned around and walked towards the ropes. It was then that everything in my life changed. It was one of those moments people talk about —a life changer, a turning point. In that ring, at that moment with me turned and walking to the ropes, my life got changed. POP! POP! POP! POP! Four hard punches landed on the back of my head. Did Chad actually just punch me in the back of my head? Chad (and God) screamed a lesson into me by punching me four times hard in the head. Appropriately enraged, I turn around, planted my feet, and raised my hands.

“Chad, seriously, I’m done! Back off!” Then he says it — my spiritual revelation. He didn’t hear it coming out of his mouth the way I did. It was amazing.

“Marshal, you think just because YOU’RE done, the fight’s over? You think because you’re tired the enemy will stop pursuing? The fight isn’t over until the bell rings”

Amazed, stunned, blown away, challenged and maybe still angry, I stood silent. There was nothing I could say. He was so right, and I was so wrong. Chad continued, “I know how much you can handle; I’m not going to end you, but I’m going to break you if it makes you stronger.”

Then we were done. That was it. That was our lesson, our session for the day. Wow. Are you kidding me, Chad? This is amazing! God is revealing Himself to me through punches to the back of my head. Feeling a bit excited about this revelation, I raised my gloves. Shoulders burning, head spinning, thighs wobbling, I charged. Eyes centered, feet planted, jab, jab, cross, back off. I closed in and he fired, but I raised my gloves. He landed, but I was protected. We grappled, and I managed a few shots underneath. Focused, tired, burnt, bruised — but still focused with feet planted, eyes centered. I laughed, knocked gloves, and hopped out of the ring.

It’s amazing how God used getting punched in the back of my head to teach me something. Just because we want to walk away from the battle, just because we don’t want to be in the ring, and just because we turn our backs, doesn’t mean that we can walk away. The enemy doesn’t stop. The attacks don’t stop just because we aren’t willing to defend against them anymore. The vicious blows hit us again and again, regardless of where and how we stand in that ring.

Sometimes it’s hard to fight. Whether it’s a constant battle at work, school, in our family, even in our church, it’s often just so exhausting. Sometimes we are so tired, so broken and so bruised that we can’t keep pursuing the battle. God knows those times. God knows what we can bear and what we can handle, and how much devastation we can take before we completely collapse. But God offers us the training to stand up and not only attack, but also defend ourselves. In a fight, raising your gloves has two purposes: sometimes it’s to land a devastating blow on our opponent, and sometimes it’s just to defend ourselves. Maybe we are tired, maybe we are hurt, and maybe we need time and space to plan our next move. We still need to raise our gloves. Dropping our gloves leaves us open to devastation and defeat. Pick up your gloves. I know you are tired, but raise them high. I know you are exhausted, but plant your feet. I know you are weak, but stay focused and centered on Him.

I’m not going to turn and run and just accept blows to the back of the head. For God’s sake, I’m going to train, develop, learn, and grow. I’m going to finally turn around and stand my ground. Plant my feet, center myself and square my shoulders. For God’s sake, I’m gonna fight so I can say, at the end of all things, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). For God’s sake, let’s fight!

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