Dear Wake Up Family:
Mike Tyson was just twenty years old when, in the mid-1980s, he became the youngest champion in boxing history. He was so aggressive and strong that many of his opponents lasted less than sixty seconds in the first round. Two lasting only thirty seconds! A remarkable feat considering boxing matches are scheduled to last ten three-minute rounds. Tyson’s reign ended in 1990 when one night, his fearsome, almost mythical image crashed to the ground when he experienced his first loss. That defeat led to many personal, legal, and financial failures, including spending time in prison. After prison though, he made a remarkable reentry into public life as a noticeably different person.
Because his reign at the top made him a superstar, he is known for saying some very memorable and thoughtful quips borne of life experiences in both success and failure. One of his best know quotes is “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” His point is, everyone has a plan but few have a contingency response for when that plan fails. When read and thoughtfully considered, one can see the wisdom in his words. Larry’s term for the same idea was: Plan A / Plan B. But because Tyson speaks with a lisp, when he made the statement, it came out as “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the faith.” Have you ever been punched in the faith? I have.
Job was punched in the faith. The Bible says, “[After learning that he had lost everything including his children,] Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, ‘I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!’ In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.” (Job 1:20–22 NLT)
ve often wondered why the devil allowed Job’s wife to live. My conclusion is that she was spared to further taunt her husband in his grief. Consider what she says to Job and his reply. “His wife said to him, ‘Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But Job replied, ‘You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.” (Job 2:10)
Job was a man of incredible faith. Later in the story, he said when talking with his three friends: “God might kill me, but I have no other hope.” (Job 13:15 NLT) “And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” (Job 19:26 NLT) Job didn’t like or understand what was happening to him. Yet he believed he would see God one day! How does one get to a point in life where faith in God remains firm no matter what happens? It takes effort. It takes practice. It takes patience. It takes discipline. This is why Larry used to say, “Living by faith is the hardest thing on earth to do.”
God is aware of our plights and will reward our faithfulness. The Bible says, “The LORD restored his [Job’s] fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as [he had] before!” (Job 42:10 NLT) The theme of Job’s story is that God Can Be Trusted! So the next time you’re punched in the faith or feeling discouraged, remember Jesus’ words, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer… Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10 NLT)