Some of you may know of my first missionary trip experience almost 7 yrs. ago in Istanbul, Turkey. It was my first encounter with a fist. For those of you who've never heard, here's the short of it: Christmas day. i'd been passing out Incils, or Turkish Bibles with missionary friends on the main square.
On that wonderful Christmas day a Turkish man, angry that we were passing out bibles, attacked me and the missionary pastor, leaving the pastor with stitches to the mouth and me with a swollen jaw. i'd be a liar if i didn't admit that i was a bit fearful after that altercation, but i'd also be lying if i didn't share how i found new FAITH in that encounter, a new urgency in my heart to simply TRUST GOD in a Muslim country and wherever my, HIS, GOspel would take me.
So i've been in Thailand for almost 2 months, a Buddhist country quite welcoming of other religions, so surely a PUNCH #2 would not be one of my adventures here, i mean why would it?
Well, let me explain:
i was on my way to meet with friends for dinner when i noticed a man being violently dragged across a busy road while screaming, “Buddha... i'm Buddhist... i love Buddha!” The man dragging happened to be a local. The man being dragged turns out to be a foreigner who wasn't done fighting. At this point i'd made my first attempt to separate them and started dialogue with the foreigner who spoke English.
The foreigner in super cursing mode proceeds to grab a brick, a big one at that, to throw at the Thai dude. i boldly demand him to give me the brick, he listens but continues to curse and spit at the Thai dude and even exposes his genitals. i felt at peace and protected so i proceeded with the power of words to calm and direct the foreigner to walk away, and then the punch! The man i was trying to help swiftly punches me in the neck.
So i punched back, but wait Michael you’re a Christian who's supposed to turn the other cheek. Yes, and this time my cheek turning came in the form of a "punch" that really wasn't much of a punch by a fighter's standards because i actually didn't PUNCH back, but i did, just in a way that spoke LOUDER.
i took the punch, stood my ground and kept this angry man from getting into more trouble. We dialogued, he apologized, he explained, he asked questions, i asked questions, i informed, i spoke life.. we will likely connect again soon.
To think that i am very much like this man, those times when i allow sin, worry, stress, doubt, comparison.. or simply LiFE to drag me across a road and beat me. JESUS comes to help and i punch him in the neck, i miss the point! WHY? because i'm too focused on what's trying to beat me, like the foreigner i want to fight, to finish it, to solve the problem. i want CONTROL when ABBA is asking for my SURRENDER!
i'm not too worried about being punched a third, fourth or fifth time, what i don't want is to keep punching my HELP.
GRACE takes punches! or should i say GRACE already took every PUNCH!
- For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
- a LOVER not a fighter. Allow the attacks to be an opportunity to PROVE LOVE, not disprove it. LOVE conquers all!
- these punches are starting to hurt a bit less ;)