A set-back from out of no-where this week has meant that I have a little more time to look at things that have happened over the last year. During this reflection it has dawned on me that there has been a lot of stuff going on, or more precisely going wrong, since I started training for ministry. I won’t go into details here, but simply to say and not to over dramatise, there has been much that has gone on in the last year that we as a family could have done without. I like to think of myself as having a problem solving personality, and someone who doesn’t look to blame others when things go wrong. But in this approach I think I may have missed the underlying theme. I think I may have been “sucker punched.” Dictionary.com describes a sucker punch as, “a sudden surprise punch, especially from behind” or “a sudden unexpected defeat or setback.” That’s where I think we are, so the question is how did that happen?
I’m no boxer, and it may be carrying the metaphor a bit far, but I don’t think I have had my eyes on the opponent. I have had my head down driving forward, just getting on with the day job, the training and trying to get things done in the Kingdom for Christ. This has meant I have missed early warning signs. I haven’t seen those around me getting stressed, or needing my help, making them vulnerable to attack. Perhaps I have missed obvious signs, or made bad decisions that I would have seen if I were alert. I don’t look for evil in every issue in my life, but we do know from 1 Peter 5:8 that the “devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” So perhaps I should raise my head a bit and look towards my enemy, to dodge the sucker punch. I also know that my guard has been lowered, or the punch would not have got through. Suzy and I were reading Acts 1 this morning, and I was struck once again by how Jesus emphasised the Holy Spirit as being vital in ministry. He told the apostles that they would receive power once the Holy Spirit came upon them to preach to the ends of the world. But He told them they should wait for the Holy Spirit to come before they started. The Holy Spirit is my guard and my guide and I think I may not be waiting on Him enough. Being a one with the Holy Spirit means I will see and dodge the sucker punch.
Suzy and I decided this morning that as we move forward in ministry we can pretty much expect attack, the Bible says as much in 1 Peter 4:12. We also realise that there are many people who are suffering more than us in may ways beyond our understanding. In addition I suspect that we are not alone in lowering our gaze and our guard, and that beyond the obvious suffering there is much pain that happens that could be avoided. So we did not pray for less attack, but instead prayed for more strength and insight from the Holy Spirit to resist the blows. Perhaps you would join me in praying for more of Gods Holy Spirit in our lives and yours. More relationship, more insight, more wisdom, more discernment to avoid the sucker punch.