This guy is what you would call an extreme athlete. Just five years old when we moved into our San Clemente neighborhood, Dylan watched the older boys playing roller hockey on the street, and then taught himself to skate. When he watched them play at the town hockey rink, of course he had to play! Barely big enough to wear all the equipment, he spent hours working on his slap shot in the street in front of our house . . . five and a half years old! I am sure of his age because his little brother, Danny, was two and a half years old and was recovering from kidney failure, requiring a lot of my time and attention. Dylan’s tireless practicing gave him something on which to focus, but truth is – Dylan was born with fight.
As his mother, I can look back and see it has been the same way for Dylan in every sport he tackles—baseball, soccer, body boarding, snowboarding, and recently Muay Thai (standup fighting) and boxing. Relentlessly, he trains and disciplines himself. Concussions, broken bones, torn ligaments, burst eardrums … oh, well, he gets back up again.
From his example, I should like to draw a couple lessons for life right now. First, life in the 21st century requires spiritual discipline and emotional tenacity for believers to stand strong and overcome the rigors of struggles faced. Remember what Paul told Timothy? “Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.”1
Second, and related, consider the storm, and what to do when in it. [Needless to say, WE ARE IN A STORM – all of us together!] I remember a day of epic surf—huge waves crashing to the shore—the kind that make surfers do anything to get to the beach! Dylan drove the 45 minutes to the Wedge in Newport Beach early morning and again in late afternoon so as not to miss the swell. But then—on a Friday evening at dusk, just a couple days before high school graduation, a wave came off the jetty at the Wedge and cracked him in the side of the head and burst his eardrum. Loss of board, loss of equilibrium, inability to tell up from down, he was being thrown around like a ragdoll in the water until someone helped him to shore.
Translation, application please?!
Are you in the eye of the storm?
Are you or someone you love in a broken place?
You need grounded, godly people to drag you safely to the shore, just like Dylan. Do not go through the storm alone. [‘don’t have someone? Hit ‘reply’ and let me know – we will create an on-line community. My motto: no one goes alone]
So often I think of this verse from the wisdom literature of scripture: “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”2 While I was raised to be tough, especially emotionally, it is a fool who tries to go the desperate storms of life alone. Place the call. Ask people to pray with and for you. Above all, do not isolate yourself … which is so difficult at this time of quarantine; that’s okay, just requires creativity! Also—remember in the night, in the storm, what you knew to be true in the light of day.
Here’s another thing: Know what dry ground looks like. "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are safe."3 As for me, I know that Jesus is my port in the storm. Why? Jesus alone knows all, cares about everything that concerns me, and promises never to leave me alone, no matter what others around me choose. He prays to the Father on my behalf … and, no matter what happens in my life, I know there is a message from God in everything. Dylan certainly knew when others drug him out of the huge waves and onto shore that he had gotten to safety; the same is true for me and you - Jesus is our rock. As the psalmist said, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”4
Jesus did not promise his best friends and disciples that their lives would be trouble free—in fact, he told them just the opposite: “In this life you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”5 Paul’s sentiments as he was pounded by life’s storms inspire me: “But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].6
What sets you and me apart from the world—the world who is crumbling in fear—is the way we handle trials, the way we manage the storms of life. What an opportunity we have just now!
Join me in this prayer: Jesus, won’t you be my strong tower? No matter what I go through, please banish the thoughts that are not from you and help me to focus on the thoughts that honor you. I know that you alone can meet me in my weak place, bring me to a place of strength and help me get my fight back! Won’t you do that now, dear God? Amen.
Let's get our fight Back!
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1 – 1 Timothy 6.12
2 – Ecclesiastes 4.12
3 – Proverbs 18.10
4 – Psalm 18.2
5 – John 16.33
6 – 1 Corinthians 9.27, Amp.