How to Rebound From a Knockdown

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, June 8, 2009

Today begins a new day in ministry for me. It is the day that I integrate technology as I daily communicate with you to encourage your "Daily Walking, Working and Winning by God's Word."

Today is also the day that I travel to the Minister's Conference in Hampton, Virginia. This is the largest conference for minister's in America and is regularly attended by over 4,000 ministers and 2,000 choir members.

As I begin this blog, "Daily Walking, Working and Winning by God's Word" I will seek to response to a question posed by a person looking for answers to one of life's dilemmas: can a persons turn their life around, if you stumble are you able to pick up where you left off, or "How do you rebound from a knockdown"?

The word of God is always my guide.

Pick up your Bible and read II Samuel 24:14 "And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man."

What is clear about life's struggles is that you will not win every battle. Every time you get into the ring of life does not mean that the referee will raise your hand in victory. Even though you may feel ready, even if you feel that you are strong, or even if you feel that the odds are stacked in your favor; sometimes in your life you will be faced with the awesome reality that it is you who is lying on the mat knock down, but not out. Given this set back, set up, or set out; you have a decision to make. Do you crawl out of the ring on your hands and knees, do you wait for your corner man to bring a stretcher to haul you away, or do you get back on your feet, dust yourself off, shake yourself loose, clear your head, and get back into the fight for your life. One thing is certain. The decision you make will have lasting ramifications for your life. Therefore, how do you rebound from a knockdown is an important question to answer.

There may be someone who is reading who understands what I am saying. Nobody but you knows what you are facing. Nobody but you knows that you are losing every round and that the end is eminent. Unexpectedly you have received the news. You are not winning, you are losing. Your family is in chaos. Your relationships have gone haywire. Your children are acting absolutely crazy. Your outgo exceeds your income. You are walking a tightrope and your balance is unsteady. Your are not winning, you are losing. And suddenly out of nowhere comes the crushing blow, the critical punch, the crucial moment that turns the tide out of your favor and you are faced with the awesome reality - I have been knockdown, but not out!

How do you rebound from a knockdown?

Allow me to take another perspective on this matter. I am a product of the sixties which I believe was an exciting period in the life of this country and our people. We realized that a man can't ride you back, if you don't bend your back. We realized that there was no reason to accept second class citizenship. We realized that we didn't have to ride in the back of the bus. Out of the sixties arose a mighty warrior - Muhammad Ali. He could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He was a heavy weight boxer who had a unique style of fighting in that he could hit you and avoid being hit. He could dance. He could float. He was poetry in motion. He was pretty. He was handsome. He was strong. He was Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali could predict the round when he would knock out his opponent. He was one of the original rappers. He used his oratorical skills to provide color to a brutal sport.

Muhammad Ali had made the American government upset with his stance on the Vietnam War. When he was asked to step forward and be inducted into the Army - he refused. He was stripped of his boxing license and the championship he had earlier won by defeating Sonny Liston. For three years, he couldn't fight. There arose another boxing champion - Joe Frazier. But Muhammad Ali would say he was the people's champion. After he was permitted to obtain his boxing license he fought two tune-up fights in anticipation of a match between him and Frazier - the Fight of the Century.

It was held in Madison Square Garden in New York. Everyone was there. The whole world watched on closed circuit television. I watched too.

It was an epic struggle. Muhammad Ali danced and punched. Joe Frazier ducked and swung. It went for fifteen rounds without a clear winner. The people who liked Frazier thought he was winning. The people who liked Ali thought he was winning. Suddenly in the fifteenth and final round in the first seconds; Frazier threw one of his famous left hooks. Everyone saw it.



We expected Ali to avoid that ferocious punch. But it caught Ali flush on the jaw and he was knock downed. Ali was lying on his back with over 300 million people watching. He lost that fight, but won the people's hearts. He was faced with a decision in the ring that we are faced with in life; how do you rebound from a knockdown.

The 24th Chapter of 2nd Samuel provides us with insights and suggests an answer to this question. The Chapter begins with a biblical and theological dilemma. It suggests that the Lord moved David to number the people of Israel and then punished him for doing it. That appears to me to be contradictory. God has asked you to do something and then is angry with you for doing it. Possibly the writer did not provide enough explanation. But the writer does share something with us for he writes in the second verse that Davide provides as the reason for numbering the people, "So I may know how many there are."

God told you to do something for him and you take credit for doing it. One thing is certain God is a jealous God and we should never take credit for what rightly belongs to him. That's why we must say, "Praise God from whom all blessing flow." We must always give God the glory and not take credit for what he has done for you, in you and through you.

This biblical and theological dilemma is increased with the parallel reading of this story found in I Chronicles 21:1. There it states that Satan rose up and incited David to number the people. And the Lord was displeased with David.

This apparent contradiction is not problematic for me. First, we must never refrain from giving praises to God. Second, we must never give place in our hearts, minds, and spirits to the devil. Which ever course you follow, you can be certain that God will not approve.

The second observation one makes is why was David so intent on numbering the fighting men of Israel. He forgot that in his early years that God was not concerned about the number of people, just the commitment of people. God knew that one could chase a thousand, and two could put ten thousand to flight, it God was with them.

David didn't remember the story of Gideon when he fought the Midianities. The Lord had told Gideon that he had too many men to go into battle. He said that if you won the battle with the number of men you had, you would think that the victory was yours. So God said to Gideon ask the people who are afraid and allow them to leave. A large number left. God said there are still too many. Then God told him to take the men down to the brook and have them drink water. Some got on their knees and stuck their faces in the water and others lapped the water like a dog. God told Gideon to take only the 300 men who lapped the water like a dog and go into battle.

God won the battle with the Midianities even through Israel was outnumbered and had just a few men.

David should have remembered that when he was a young boy he fought Goliath with only a few stones and a sling.

David should have remembered the words of Jehoshaphat, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Be not dismayed for the battle is not yours, it's the Lord."

But David decided to take matters into his own hands and now God was angry with him.

David's prophet Gad, comes to him and tells him that God is angry and that he will have to pay a penalty for his sin. All sin has consequences. He gives David three choices:

1) You can have famine in your land for three years
2) You can flee for three months from your enemies
3) You can have a plague in your land for three days

David is stuck - the punch is coming and he cannot avoid it. He understands that "his arms are too short to box with God."

He has been knockdown off of his high horse of ambition, knockdown off of his sense of ego, knockdown from his esteemed position.

He is faced with a life changing decision, "how do I rebound from a knockdown."

As you read this story you may see your life's situation. The walls are closing in. The argument has escalated into a feud. The relationship is being ripped apart. The sense of peace is lost and confusion is the order of the day. The loose action you took has now come back to haunt you. The brief moment of pleasure is now a long night of horror. You are losing it. The game of life for you is almost over. What do you do?

Examine David's options:

To rebound from a knockdown, you must realize three things:

1) You do not fall into the hands of man.

a) You don't fall into the hands of your friends - you friends can't help and most things they are in the same boat you are in.

b) You don't fall into the hands of your family - your family has tried time and time again to get you to see the light, they have given up on you.

c) You don't fall into the hands of your foes - your foes, the haters, your enemies delight in your misery, they are of no use.

2) To rebound from a knockdown, you must fall into the hands of your Father God. God is the only one "who can pick you up and turn you around and plant your feet on solid ground." God is the one who loves you so that "His mercy and goodness will follow you." God is the one who cares for you.

To rebound from a knockdown don't fall into the hands of your friends, don't fall into the hands of your family, don't fall into the hands of your foes; fall into the good hands of the Father - God.

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