Knocked Down but Not Knocked Out

I am sure that all of us can remember a favorite toy we received at Christmas. To be honest I probably had several “favorites” but the one toy that I remember most was a sock-em-bounce-back clown. No matter how hard or which direction you hit it, it would always bounce back.

I may be stretching the analogy a bit but Christians should be able to “bounce back” when struck by life’s “punches.” “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again…Provergs 24:16 I read recently a definition of success that I rather like. “Success is falling down seven times but getting back up eight times.”

The secret of “bouncing back” for that toy and Christ-followers is the balance. Something at the center that brings us back to where we should be. Jesus Christ is our anchor that brings us back to center.

“We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.” 

The Power of “But”

The Bible is an amazing book; it contains adventure, romance, poetry, wisdom and a host of other topics. Often the Bible describes a situation that people were facing and you just know how it is going to turn out. All the facts considered there is no other option how this will end.

Unless you consider the Power of the “but.” In Acts 12, Peter has been arrested, placed in prison and guarded by four squads of soldiers; no bail, no escape plan, no lawyer. Peter will be placed on trial but Herod has already decided Peter will die. Acts 12:-34

I love how God intervened, verse 5 “So Peter was kept in prison, BUT the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” [emphasis added] FACT: Peter was kept in prison. No one, including the praying church and Peter, thought he would be ‘rescued.’ Everyone forgot that God is not constrained by the facts. That is why it is called a miracle!

All through the Bible we see the power of the “but.”

  • Everyone expected Goliath to kill David…but God
  • Jericho expected their walls to protect them…but God
  • Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake, everyone expected him to die…but God 
  • Pilate, the Jews, the disciples didn’t expect Jesus to be resurrected…but God

No matter how bleak or impossible your situation do not forget the “Power of the But.” 

I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work…”  Isaiah 55:8 (MSG)

As a Christ-follower, I have found many of my thoughts and actions are totally opposite of God’s. I am not talking about sin but just different. For example, when someone hurts you or does something to you, the ‘natural’ man will usually respond in a way that is totally opposite of the way God would have us respond. MT. 5:43-45  The world says if you want to be rich; be stingy. God on the other says giving is the way of receiving. Luke 6:38

Recently I have had a change in my thinking concerning how I view the church. For years, I have viewed the “small” church as inferior to larger churches. Small churches, in my thinking,  just hadn’t arrived yet. They weren’t as successful as the large church. Many people look at the small church as an “unwanted, red-headed step-child.”

But does God categorize churches by size? No. How does not see churches as large or small. He just sees THE church. Jesus is the head of the church, so wherever He is worshiped that is church. Mt. 18:20 Churches are not called to be successful (at least as others think) but they are called to be faithful. Mt. 5:21

God must love the small church, He made so many of them.

Can You Fix It?

Having served as a Pastor for over thirty years, I have observed people whose lives are “broken.” Sometimes they would come to me and ask me if I could fix “it.” It may be a broken marriage or a parent/child relationship. Sometimes people look at their situation and conclude “This is so broken it cannot be fixed, repaired or restored.” So they get a divorce, give up on that relationship, or worse turn their back on God and quit living for Him.

I can understand their reasoning. From a human standpoint, there seems no way this wrong can be made right. We think that OUR situation is SO BAD that even God cannot untangle the mess. But that is not so. I have been amazed how God can take the “broken” and bring healing, restoration and wholeness.  Consider:

  • He is the one who heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
  • “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

In Ezekiel 37, we read the story of the Valley of Dry Bones. These were not recently slain corpses but dry bones! God asks Ezekiel a very pointed question, “Son of man, can these bones live?”  Ezekiel answers,“Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”  That is a great answer for only God can “fix” some of life’s greatest challenges!  

Years ago we used to sing a chorus, God Can Do Anything But Fail.” True. Let God begin to work in your life. Turn it over to Him and see God work in your life!