It’s arguable which was greater, Muhammad Ali’s fists or Ali’s mouth. His trash talk was epic, it rhymed, it was dramatic, he name dropped, and most of all, he backed it up with colossal fists. His fighting became legendary and he was coined (mostly by himself) as ‘the greatest.’
I went through a week where I felt I was going toe to toe with The Greatest, the Divine Greatest. Let’s just say I had issued somewhat of a challenge. And I expected Him to come at me like ‘the greatest’ would have. I was waiting for the trash talk, I was ready for taunting, I was ready for Him to drop me. With a challenge like this, I expected to get knocked out.
Life had been feeling like a fight lately. Not just for me, but for everyone around me, everyone around me seemed to be dealing with some sort of struggle in their lives, some sort of fight. So as we made our way to the ring I decided if He wasn’t in the taunting mood, I would get the ball rolling. ‘Don’t you wanna just knock me out? Yeah good things are still happening, I have Your peace and Your joy, but I’m still fighting. I’m gonna stumble, is that what You want? How bout I let it all fall to pieces? I have Your eternal satisfaction, but what if I told You I wanted something right now, something temporarily satisfying right now? What are you gonna do about it?’
I noticed He wasn’t putting His gloves on. ‘I told you to wait for Me, that I would show you that I am The Greatest, but not like this.’
There’s a span of Psalms from about the 27th Psalm through the 37th and even into the 52nd Psalm where the word ‘wait’ is used too many times for us not to notice it. David is the author of a lot of these Psalms, and looking back on his life, David is definitely someone who learned to wait on the Lord. And all the while he waited, David fought. He’d faced lions and bears in the field, he’d even fought a giant named Goliath. He was a warrior, slaying his ‘tens of thousands.’ He was anointed and chosen by God as the rightful king of Israel, yet because Saul the current king pursued David with the intent of killing him, He was forced into hiding. He lived in a cave, sneaking around, living amongst Philistines as a servant to their king and fighting in their land. He was always fighting. David was presented with more than one opportunity to kill Saul, yet even when the chance to do evil was right in front of his eyes, he held back. He waited for the Lord, knowing that when the time was right, the Lord would be faithful to him and he would be given his kingdom.
In the Psalms, the word wait seems to be tied to faith. To wait on someone, implies to be at their call in order to do their will, to wait for their direction. There’s a sense of Lordship. To wait for direction is to keep your ears ready believing that in due time a word will be spoken. To wait for someone is to remain steadfast in one place, believing that they are going to return.
I am fighting, I know I am fighting. And because of the faith that I have put in Jesus Christ, I am His chosen, an heir, you could even say an anointed one, but the kingdom has not fully manifested itself… so will I wait?
In the haze of the fight when I can’t hear anything, will I be steadfast in His word, believing that if I wait, He will speak. In my weak point in the fight, will I hold to righteousness, waiting for His strength, believing that I will attain His perfection when He returns. Will I wait on Him everyday ready to do His will even in the midst of battle, believing that He is my reward.
By the grace of God, I never made it to the ring that day. God is The Greatest, not because of the size of His fists or the level of His trash talk, but because of the size of His faithfulness. Because of the manner in which He backs His claim to faithfulness up. I had come to a point where I was struggling in my waiting, but I have a God who has always waited on me and even when I had dang near asked Him to stop being faithful to me, to stop keeping me and let me get a little beat up, He didn’t do it. His only reply was ‘I am faithful.’ What else can He be? For the believer there is nowhere else to turn, there is nothing else to lean on but His faithfulness. Turn to sin? He killed it in my life. Turn to sorrow? There’s too much joy in simply knowing Him. He took all of my suffering on the cross. Let the anxiety of life consume me? He keeps on working it all out for my good. And He did and does all of these things because I’m so good at waiting for Him? No, but because He is faithful. God doesn’t want to fight with us, He longs to fight for us and through us. This isn’t even our battle. History has never recorded a fighter being K.O.’d before even making it to the ring. But God’s love is so piercing and humbling, it will lay you out. It’s supernatural. Great. Great. Great is thy faithfulness towards me.