A number of years ago, in a moment of unhealthy self-pity, I began to tell the Lord how badly wounded I was, how much our family and our team had suffered, how brutal the blows had been and how little return we had seen on our investment. The Lord’s reply shocked me: Ed, you should see the other guy! He is the one who looks really bad. You’re on the winning team! If you think you look pathetic, just imagine how awful the loser must look.
Just then, a scene from the movie Rocky II came to my mind. It happens toward the end of the climactic title fight. Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed have slugged it out to the point of total exhaustion. Both of them are down, lying on the canvas, and the referee has begun the count. Rocky’s manager, crusty old Mickey, is frantically shouting in Rocky’s dull ears, “Get up, you bum. Get uuuup!” He keeps on screaming until Rocky, in obvious pain and with great difficulty, begins to pull himself up while the count continues. Under Mickey’s unrelenting verbal shoving, Rocky keeps riding waves of exhaustion on a raging sea of suffering. And when the referee cries, “. . . 9 . . . 10. You’re out!” Rocky is the one standing over the downed Apollo. Our hero stands for only a few moments, but he is on his feet long enough to be declared the winner and new champion.
As I reflected on this dramatic scene, I sensed the Lord saying to me, Get up and claim the prize! You are down but so is the devil. He does not want you to know it, but he is totally spent after such a fight. He has no more strength, and this is why he is so bent on keeping you focused on your own wounds. Both of you are down; but the one who gets up and claims the prize wins. Get up, you blessed one!
This experience enabled me to understand a powerful dynamic concerning trials: Trials require two fiercely opposing parties for its painful pressure to develop. Pressure, like a pincer, needs two anchor points to operate. We are one of the points; the devil is the other one. However, in the midst of these frays, we tend to focus exclusively on the damage done to us or to our loved ones. We seldom, if ever, realize what the trial has done to the opposition. Consider the way most Christians process Job’s tribulation. We concentrate almost exclusively on what Job lost and how much he suffered, and we fail to see the main point in this epic drama: The devil lost big to a mere human being. Satan ended up discredited and humiliated before his own demons. What the devil values the most, his pride, lay shattered at Job’s feet.
Take heart that even though we suffer, we always end up stronger than the devil. His scheme is to keep us focused on our pain rather than his. But remember…if you’re hurting, you should see the other guy!!
Excerpt taken from Prayer Evangelism, chapter 1.