A strange new sporting phenomenon has arisen in recent years wherein two opposing men square off across a table to engage in open-handed slap competitions. They take turns slapping each another in the face until one either yields or gets knocked out. It is a bizarre, unsettling sport to watch, but it can speak to us on an emotional, spiritual level: sometimes life slaps us silly.
Sometimes through calamity, crisis, or even smaller griefs like criticism, insensitivity, or having one more task added to an already overflowing plate, we feel slapped in a way that breaks us loose from our moorings.
It does not matter how big or strong the men in these contests are—a hard enough slap can jar anyone’s body, shaking them off balance and sometimes even causing them to flop over in a heap on the floor. When life does this to us, we too can feel dislodged from the secure footing that we have established in God.
There are places in our lives where we have gained the victory. We have overcome weakness or sin and we now enjoy a more Christ-like perspective. We experience gratitude and contentment, reveling in the upper hand that the Holy Spirit has given us. But when a hard enough blow crashes into our world, we can momentarily lose sight of all that. We feel broken loose from all of our hard work, and suddenly old, resolved issues resurface with a vengeance and we are tempted to think, “Have I made any progress at all? Am I right back where I started when I first began seeking hope, healing, or deliverance?”
The answer is no! You have not lost ground. You are not unhinged. You have simply taken a body blow or a jarring shot to the head.
In Matthew 7, Jesus spoke about anchoring our lives to a rock so that when storms attempt to slap us we won’t collapse. We won’t break free from our mooring because we are riveted to something stronger than the storm.
If something has recently slapped you, get back up. Reassemble your heart. Run back to your anchor and reattach to God’s perspective and grace. You are not backsliding; you are not losing ground. You will rise.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)