The timer started, wrestlers tense staring into each other’s eyes, mocking, watching, anticipating the first move. The high school gym was hot, fans, referees, athletes all dripping in the late afternoon heat. It was the final match, everyone was ready for the long day to be over, yet this was the finale, the peak of it all. As the match began the minds of the two opponents, long time competitors, snapped into singular focus, the noise, the light, the irritation of sweat receding as they began. Nothing mattered more than the task at hand. For this they had trained, worked, competed, and sacrificed. Win or lose, both had already won. But play the game still they must. It wasn’t over yet.
Somewhere along this trek through life a “wrestler” has come my way. I’m not certain how he so casually sauntered in, but the presence of his competitive nature has been very evident for years. He pops up in my mind to challenge me. Why? Just for his fun of it, I guess. Or for my destruction. He is relentless in his efforts to win. He plays the same old tunes, has the same old moves of trying to take me down and out. And, frankly, is tiresome. Ever so slowly, however, I am learning those wrestling moves; especially how to feign an attack and claim my upper hand. Sometimes he wrestles me with flat out lies, fear, discouragement, and worry. He has studied me well, knows my weak points, and never hesitates to take advantage. He has whispered worrisome lies in my ears for so many years that I have had to learn to cast them out of my head, and replace them with truth. Happily I have a righteous referee who fully knows this game, and coaches me well. It is an ongoing, life-long, match.
World class wrestling I personally understand. “World” is that wrestler’s name, who endeavors relentlessly to subdue each of us to his will. Whether we win each match, or are beat in temporary defeat, we, too, like those high school wrestlers, have already won. We can get up again. The game goes on. And by God’s grace we find ourselves still standing!
John 16:33 (NKJV) Jesus says: 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Deuteronomy 20:3-4 (NKJV): 3 And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; 4 for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’