I know what it is to be punched in the face. It’s not fun. When I was a kid I tended to get picked on pretty regularly and I had to learn to run fast and stand my ground, depending on the situation. One memorable battle took place right after I moved to a new middle school in 7th grade. During my first week there I began to get the vibe that a kid named Damon didn’t like me. (See how close his name is to demon?) He was a lot taller than I was but was skinny as a rail. He’d give me dirty looks and would bump me with this shoulder in the hallway on “accident” in between classes.
One morning a group of us were hanging out looking over someone’s shoulder at a skateboard magazine when Damon shoved me and told me I was in his way. I looked around and realized I wasn’t even close to him. I decided to ignore him. Well, that just ticked him off. He shoved me again and said, “You wanna fight?”. “No, I don’t…..now back off!”, I shot back. He proceeded to respond with the obligatory, “Make me!”…..and then it was on.
Damon pushed through a few guys and tried to get me in a headlock. I pushed away from him as he then began do double punches to my stomach. Other kids began yelling and circling around us. While I hunched over to protect my stomach and face, I felt a sudden shot of adrenaline through my body. It was coupled with a spiked anger that almost lifted me off the ground. I was enraged.
I thrust my head up and pushed him away. As he came back at me I reared back my fist and nailed him with a right cross to the mouth. Blood went everywhere. I was shocked. I looked at my fist as if it wasn’t mine and wondered how I had just done that. Damon started yelling as he realized one of his crooked front teeth had actually gone through his top lip. He ran toward the bathroom with his minions in tow.
I, too, had been bloodied in the malay: one of my knuckles was bleeding. I tried to stop the bleeding, but it wasn’t happening. I made my way to the nurse’s office for a band-aid. As I came in, the nurse was already caring for someone else. She looked back and asked me what had happened. Bowing to the unwritten code to not rat out another guy, I told I her I had fallen down. “There seems to be a lot of that going on this morning”, she said with a smile. As she moved aside I could see it was Damon holding an ice pack to his mouth. We sat there across the room for a moment in silence and then Damon nodded to me as if to say, “You got me. We’re cool.”
Goliath fell to David that day….and it felt good.
These days my fights look much different. Now, I’m in a constant battle to protect my marriage and family. I’m in the ring every day trying to protect the hearts and minds of my boys who face an onslaught of negativity and perversion in their public school. By God’s grace I’m going toe to toe with the enemy every day for the sake of this flock he’s entrusted to me. No matter how many rounds I feel I’ve lost, I’m comforted by the fact that God is in the ring with me telling me the fight has already been won through the cross of Christ!
Keep swinging. Keep getting up. You are not alone. God is faithful.