The skinny weakling staggered before the hulking thug. After several knock-out blows that had sent the upstart to the hard floor of the ring, it was a miracle the bony stripling could move at all, let alone dance to duck the next lethal blows. The jeering, cheering crowd urged their hero to finally finish the job and mince the lanky fool.
That the weakling had already endured so much beggared belief. It was as if his fragile frame was recreated after each crushing blow smashed it to the floor. Was there no end to this insect dodging around the ring?
Got the picture? That’s what a faith venture can be like at times. We are totally unqualified for what we believe for. We are totally incapable of bringing even the tiniest portion to reality. Yet we get into the ring, against fears, spiritual foes, oppressive circumstances, medical prognosis, obvious facts, and other belligerent opponents who smash at us with their destructive fists.
At times we are hit and knocked to the ground. The facts, the medical results, the legal opinion, the circumstances turning against us, our own ineptitude – all pound upon our weakling faith and throw us around like a leaf in the wind.
Yet, with nothing more than determination to believe God and His Word, we stagger to our feet again. Somehow new strength surges through our mangled limbs and they straighten again. New energy lifts our feet and we begin to duck and swerve around the obvious, belligerent realities which stand squarely against our faith expectation.
Clearly we are unworthy of the fight. We are no match for the foes that arraign themselves against us. We are not able to quench or quell their determined violence. Our only hope is the Lord. Our only ambition is to stay in the ring until the Lord declares us the champion.
We cannot strike a blow. We cannot get the smallest point for our prowess, strategy, footwork, or for laying the least blow upon our enemies. We can only hold on, in desperate hope of survival.
We will not win the fight. Jesus will win it for us. We will not defeat the foes. Jesus has already done that for us. We will not have the strategy. We rely on Him for that. We do not know the way forward. We look to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We bring nothing into the ring but our determination to face the foe with the Lord as our deliverance.
Knocked Down Again
Then another powerful blow knocks us to the ground. The enemy sneers, “What are you doing here? Go home where it’s safe. Only a fool comes here to confront us!”
Our heart is gripped with the realisation that we are getting nowhere. There has been no breakthrough. We still face all of our foes. The facts have not changed. There is no new development to rescue us. Our resources are depleted even more. The taunting voice of the enemy speaks the truth. There is no reasonable excuse for expecting anything to change. We are fools to take up such a venture and attempt so daring a breakthrough.
It’s All About Him!
And then, by God’s grace, a voice reaches us from somewhere and asks, “Were you relying on your own worthiness?” And we realise the answer is, “No!” The battle has never been about us. It has never relied on our ability, our wisdom, our special skills, our divine calling, or anything else of ours. This challenge is not about “us”, but all about “HIM”!
We stagger to our feet again and wave our arms to the crowd. We shout, “I am unworthy! I am undone! It has nothing to do with ME! I stand here today in His name, under His grace, seeking His miracle working power, looking for His Kingdom, according to His will, relying only on Him, and giving all the glory only to His holy name!”
Strength surges through our limbs again. Long, lanky, useless limbs that can barely hold the weight of sweat-drenched gloves begin to move again. We face our foe yet another time. He stares in consternation. How did we rise after his last powerful blow? He cannot figure it, but be moves toward us yet again. We duck and swerve and break into a smile of joy.
Hope to Endure and Win
We are still alive. The battle is not over. We have not been destroyed. We are being sustained. And he who began this good work in us will continue to perform it until it concludes with the revelation of Jesus Christ made flesh in our circumstances! The miracle is on the way! We are being supernaturally sustained. We are taking hold of that which is far beyond us. We will prevail!
And so it is that useless ones, like you and me, move from the pit where we should be to the exalted place where the Lord wants us to be. We do not progress in God’s Kingdom by jumping through the world’s hoops. We don’t get there by natural means. We need “hind’s feet” to reach the high places of God. Colleges can’t get us to Mount Zion. Money, positions, peer approval, government endorsement, big congregations, professional programs and the like will never give us victory in the fight that counts.
It is our insane faith, claiming things that don’t belong to us (in natural terms) as if they are rightfully ours by God’s perfect will and Christ’s perfect sacrifice. That is what teleports us from unworthy to worthy. That’s what makes a sinner a saint. That’s what makes a loser a leader. That’s what makes a has-been a hero again.
Fight the Good Fight of Faith
Fight the good fight of faith. You will get knocked to the floor, but the very fact that you can stand again is testimony to the Lord’s sustaining power. You will learn to rejoice in your unworthiness, not in your natural credentials. You will wave your weakling arms and all heaven will break loose, while those with natural strength watch on in dismay.
To all those who resonate with the call to live by faith I say, “Go for it! Stand to your feet yet again. You won’t win the fight, but you will be declared the victor. The Lord will fight for you. He just needs you to stagger to your feet again and determine that you are useless, but that your weakness is of no consequence.”
Some time soon a champion will step into the arena and tear down the ring in which you have been tormented. He will carry you out on his shoulders and take you to the place of victory you dared lay claim to. So, hang in there, you hopeless thing, you! That’s what I’m doing, and I’m just as hopeless as you are.
It’s a pretty good place to be, this ‘hopeless’ place. Now it’s all about Him! And HE is pretty amazing!