The Champion of Heaven
Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.
Proverbs 13:15 KJV
The Bible states that the way of the transgressor is hard. The man or woman who walks down the avenue of sin naturally receives the consequences of his or her actions. It is possible, though, that there is something deeper going on in this process than just reaping and sowing.
In 1974, Muhammed Ali defeated George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle. He used a boxing technique he called rope-a-dope. Ali purposely laid on the ropes and allowed Foreman to pummel him with body blows until his weary opponent dropped his guard. At that point it only took a few deciding blows by Ali to end the match.
In contrast, our boxing match with God plays out quite differently. Like Ali, we lay on the ropes of life waiting for our opponent in Heaven to become tired. We are hopeful his heavenly gloves will slow their pace and he will somehow run out of gas. The Champion of Heaven, though, knows no such respite from the ring. He lands body punch after body punch waiting for us to drop our guard. A broken relationship, a lost job, a heartache that will not go away, are all for the purpose of his marvelous left hook. Tired, we listen for the bell to ring, but then His uppercut hits us like a hammer on an anvil. We hear cracking bones as we taste the savor of blood in our mouth. Sprawled out on the canvas the Champ reaches down his hand to lift us up and asks this question, “Are you ready to listen?””
Face swollen from a fight that has lasted much too long we peer out of swollen eyes and mumble, “Yes.” Our mouths are finally closed long enough to hear what God has to say. His methods are ruthless because he understands that the cost of not joining his corner far outweighs the pain he allows.
When Saul of Tarsus finally met his match on the road to Damascus, Jesus stated that it is hard to kick against the goads. A goad is an iron prod used to keep an ox on the right path. It is quite uncomfortable to the oxen to be jabbed in the side, but it is exactly what he needs. Saul had been resisting the Holy Spirit’s drawing. Through the circumstance of the death of Stephen the future Apostle was tormented. There are circumstances in life that are just difficult because life is difficult. However, it is always a good question to ask, are the troubles of my life a result of God’s attempt to steer me in a different direction. The way of the transgressor is hard because it was meant to get our attention. C.S. Lewis wrote, “The safest road to hell is the gradual one, the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turning, without milestones, without signposts. It is always the right choice to drop our guard and surrender the match.