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Home arrow Articles arrow Shadow Punches
Shadow Punches

Girl behind a vielThere’s a sick feeling in the base of your stomach.  Like a blow got by, uninvited, uninformed, unobtrusively, and you wince, unsure, deflated, knocked down.  On the mat, defenseless and quite vulnerable you wonder how you got there in the first place.  You thought you had all bases covered, yet somehow, something got through and you’re not sure what.  What is real however, is the sick feeling inside you, the gathering clouds of a depressed state and the sense of despondency that begins to settle over you.  Ever been there?  Know that feeling?  Resonate with what I’m saying?  It’s the murky world of shadows, of things unseen, that don’t fight fair, that sneak up on you and leave you feeling violated, compromised or wounded.  I’ve been there—and learned some lessons en route.

One of them is this: When you’re down and out and you don’t know why, back track.  Back up.  Move back to firmer ground.  Ever been in a swimming pool lazily treading water when suddenly a friend sneaks up on you and pulls you under, and you come up spluttering, gasping for breath and winded?  Your first thought as you take in gulps of air is not how to get even or tackle your friend (so called!), but to head for the railing by the side of the pool and get stabilized.  That response, I realize is not a rational thought-through assessment of the situation, but an adrenalin pumping gut reaction.  Safety, stability and solidity are the requirements of my knee-jerk response.  And therein is a truth for some of life’s battles.  Often, our response to having the wind knocked out of our sails is to flail around and fight the invisible demons that must be responsible for our discomfiture.  Or we try and make sense of our situation, understand it, reason with it and comprehend it—all life-threatening responses if you consider the analogy of the pool.  What then must be my response?  To seek the place of safety, to look for firmer ground, to breathe life into air-starved lungs.  “Breathe on me breath of God” wrote Edwin Hatch two hundred-odd years ago, “Fill me with life anew,” must be our heart’s cry in situations like this; calling out to our Father must be our instant reaction. That the safe place to be is on solid Rock, on Higher Ground in the arms of the Father.  The song-writer Henry Law captures the essence of this position through the poetry of Psalm 61 when he writes:

     Hear my cry O Lord, attend unto my prayer

     From the ends of the earth will I cry unto you

     And when my heart is overwhelmed

     Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I

That is Higher than I.

The Rock that is higher than I is the place to fight the unseen, invisible murky battles of life.  To tag Him and rest in the solid assurance that the “battle belongs to the Lord.”  And let Him take the lead, and let Him be the Voice of Wisdom and Discernment and let us look down on the situation from Higher ground, from the “Rock that is Higher than I.”  

The issue here is to make this response so much a habit that it becomes our knee-jerk response.  That we don’t waste precious time and energy grappling with situations in our own strength, but rely on His Presence and His power to carry us through the day.  Then we can sing with another song-writer, Edward Mote who penned:

     My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

     I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name

     On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand

     All other ground is sinking sand.

So maybe its time for a paradigm shift.  Maybe its time to stop fighting when you’re on sinking sand.  Maybe it’s time to head for the pool side, to solid ground, to the Rock that is Higher than you, your situations and your circumstances.  Beloved, may His Peace surround you, may His Grace envelop you and may His strength overshadow you.




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