A Pow in the Gut
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I stood at the three-point line on the basketball court. Our team was playing defense under the other team’s goal. One of their players shot the ball, but it didn’t go in. Instantly I started running. As point guard, I needed to get to our side of the court in case one of our girls caught the rebound.
Tiffany was built for sports. She could throw the ball with amazing power. When she caught the rebound, she launched the basketball in my direction. When it reached me, it had such power it went through my hands and landed in my gut. “Pow!” The noise reverberated through the whole gym, and as if on cue, the crowd said in unison, “Oooh!”
I couldn’t think for a minute. I noticed that the referee was just standing there. The other team wasn’t charging me. I turned to look at the clock. It was still going. Something clicked in my head, and I knew what to do. I pivoted toward the goal, dribbled a couple of feet, and shot. Much to my surprise, it went in! The crowd cheered in amazement.
Later I heard that the parents of both church youth teams expected me to fall to my knees. The sheer energy of the ball could have ended our team’s offensive efforts, but it didn’t. That pow in the gut turned into a goal for the team.
As we go through life, we may get a pow in the gut from time to time. Some things happen that catch us off guard, hurt us, or cause us to wonder if we can keep going. But that’s when God reassures us that this is not the end of the “play.” He can turn difficult things into good (). He can turn them into a goal for us, and for the team.
In, Paul urged Timothy not to back down from the fight when persecution came. He helped him to be prepared for any “pows” that would come his way.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.” (NKJV)
Don’t be ashamed. The fear of rejection can make us afraid to take a stand. Criticism and gossip can embarrass us to the point that we hesitate to say anything about Jesus in public.
Paul knew how severe the persecution against Timothy would be. Paul himself had been “beaten with rods … stoned; three times … shipwrecked; a night and a day … in the deep” (NKJV) and much more. Yet his advice to his beloved son in the faith was this—don’t let suffering stop you. Share in it. The result of your hard work is worth the trouble it brings. But don’t try to endure suffering in your own strength. Endure it in God’s.
We can endure suffering by drawing on God’s power which includes a new mindset.1 As we take in God’s Word, our minds are transformed (). We begin to see things from God’s viewpoint. A changed perspective empowers us to rise above the pain of suffering so that it doesn’t overwhelm us. When we understand that we’re being mistreated for something that will help people’s eternal well-being, suffering loses some of its sting.
God is working to redeem the world to Himself, and we have a role in that redemptive work. So don’t let life’s “pows” stop your forward progress. Endure them in the power of God.
1Larry Pierce, The Online Bible, CD-ROM (Winterbourne, Ontario: Larry Pierce, 2007),.
Copyright © 2013 by Katy Kauffman, 2 Timothy: Winning the Victory (Buford, Georgia: Lighthouse Bible Studies, 2013), 36-38. Adapted for CBN.com. Used with permission.
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