Yesterday, I had an epiphany (with apologies to Stephanie, a.k.a. HollyGl). I was churning over the cryptic problem in my life and it was brutal. It reminded me of my boxing days in high school.
Boxing was great until you had to fight someone that outclassed you. This happened a lot when I first started out. You try to study your opponent - get a feel of the way he tends to attack and figure out the most energy-efficient way to protect yourself while looking for openings for your own attacks. However, when you get outclassed, you are always a step behind. Sometimes you know what is going to happen and you still can't stop it. That infuses hopelessness.

However, this particular scenario is about "thinking you have it figured out," but you really don't. Just when you think you got it, you get hit with something new. Adjust, and yet you get still another new and different attack again. Battling my cryptic problem yesterday, I got surprised by a new attack. It had every appearance of being the knockout punch, but by the Grace of God, it had no power. It was solid punch, yet IT HAD NO POWER. It reminded me of a similar supernatural experience that happened to me last year. After being struck, I just walked away. I was immediately reminded of the scripture of Isaiah 54:17, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn." (KJV)

It transported me back to a similar God-authored wave of peace that came over me in college. I dated a girl that I was sure I was going to marry. She was "the ONE", I was OH so sure. However, we had a rollercoaster of a relationship. I made mistakes. She made mistakes. We were young and didn't know how to deal with them. Some of us never learn, I guess, while others fight through them to happy marriages. It wasn't to be with Andrea and me.

We had broken things off and got back together a couple of times. I remember one time praying to God as I was working my third job (in addition to going to school full-time). It was a work-study job in the biology department changing and cleaning bowls in the school's axolotl colony. My conversation to God went something like this, "God, I am sorry that I didn't share my faith with her. If you see fit to bring her back to me, I will not let that happen again."

God DID see fit to bringing her back to me one last time. We dated again during that fateful summer between my junior and senior years at Indiana University. Andrea had gone to New Jersey to visit her father for a week. I went back to my hometown (I was originally suppose to go with her). We got back the same day. I found in my apartment a warrant out for my arrest. I called the police and they told me that I had better be at the station first thing in the morning or someone would come and get me. I went over to my full-time job and discovered I no longer had one. No explanation was given. I finally got in touch with Andrea on the phone. She wanted to meet with me.

She was at that time in Indianapolis, some 50 miles from Bloomington, where I was at IU. She wanted to meet me at a small town about half-way between us. I pleaded, "Please tell me that you aren't going to end it. I have a warrant out for my arrest and have lost my job. I can't lose you, too." She assured me that she wasn't breaking up. Once more I pleaded, "If you are going to end this, end it now on the phone. Don't make me go on a road trip just to have my heart handed to me." Again, I was assured that she wasn't ending it.

When I got to the parking lot where we met, I immediately saw the look on her face. It revealed that it was over. She confirmed it.

I lost it. I was yelling, waving my arms, asked her why. It surely must have scared her. She had never seen me like that before. I had never seen me like that before. I honestly believed that I wasn't going to make it back to Bloomington alive. I had no incentive. I had officially lost everything.

In all the raving, my mouth uttered, "And I didn't even talk to you about God like I told Him I would." At that very moment, a total peace came over me. It was like I stepped outside of my body, and the Spirit of God stepped into my place. I was a mere spectator as I heard my voice say, "So I am going to tell you about Him right now." The next few minutes, I shared my faith with Andrea, urged her to search for Him further, prayed with her and calmly drove back to Bloomington to face the rest of my problems, totally at peace.

Yesterday was like that for me. I think I even sang.


Anonymous said...

Surrender is such a powerful thing. ...and such an unbelievably difficult thing for me in my little carefully self-monitored world. You are so right though, Jeff. The minute you admit to your powerlessness over a situation, its amazing how quickly a sense of peace descends.

Michelle said...

I really enjoyed reading that one.

I'm glad you got your second chance to say what you never got to the first time.

Charles said...

Wow Jeff, that was a powerful yet touching post. I never would have imagined you as a boxer. I never would have thought you'd have a warrant out for your arrest either.

Hope that everything getting better for you.

Jeff said...

Stephanie: You are right. Surrender is so counter-intuitive. Yet, is so empowering. Doesn't make sense, yet it is what it is. It reminds me of a song by a group called "The Waiting".


breaking the coals
makes the fire burn bright
doesn't seem right
doesn't seem right
plowing the row
makes it outshine the field
doesn't seem real
doesn't seem real

but of all the things
that don't make sense to me
there is yet a greater mystery
the river of peace
that flowed on the wood
the beautiful blood
the beautiful blood

meek is the lion
and brave is the lamb
don't understand
don't understand

the death of the one
to bring life to the rest
who would have guessed?
who would have guessed?

but everything's clear
next to the mystery
of almighty god nailed to a tree
to carry a debt
that i never could
the beautiful blood
the beautiful blood

yes, everything's plain
next to the mystery
of almighty god nailed to a tree
taking his place
where i should have stood
the beautiful blood
the beautiful blood

Jeff said...

Michelle: Thanks. There are so many lessons in our lives if we would just pay attention. Going through much pain isn't a tragedy, going through pain in vain is.

Charles: What? You saying I sound like a sissy? lol Thanks for caring; everything will be just fine - just the way it is supposed to be.

Chris said...

Very impressive, Jeff, just stunning.

Speaking of being outclassed by a boxer, it happened to me for the first time last Saturday, and not just a close one. Mr. OBrien is the same belt as I am. He is an inch or two bigger, a step faster, quicker hands, better technique. I now know what it is like to loose 3 10-8 rounds in a row. No fun.

Shan said...

it flows very well, describes your thoughts quite good, i am touched - makes me think...