I cannot believe I am going to do this in a religious column, but I am going to share a quote from Mike Tyson. Perhaps you remember him from back in the day. When I was growing up, there was no boxer more fearsome than Mike Tyson. I recall being 11 years old and watching him knock out a serious opponent only 91 seconds into a boxing match. He might be a knucklehead now, but he knows a thing or two about boxing. I would go as far as to say that he knows quite a bit about getting knocked down. That gives him just enough credibility to get quoted today.
During an interview, he once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” I believe that what he meant was we all sail through life quite well until something trips us up, and we land on our faces. At that point, we realize that we must come up with a new plan quickly. In that moment, there basically are only two choices: quit or get back up.
The most amazing and successful people that I know choose the latter option. Quitting is usually tempting no matter what our circumstances. However, that will not get us very far in life. So that leaves us with choosing to get back up — again, and again and again. No matter how many obstacles you must face in life, no matter how many times you get knocked down, keep getting after it. Do not give up until it is absolutely time to hang up your gloves.
Proverbs 24:16 tells us that people of faith choose to get up after hardships. It says, “Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place; for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” In other words, no matter what happens to God’s children, through faith, they will keep on keeping on. You cannot break them.
I think about Jesus’ crucifixion several times a week, such as during communion and my morning devotions. According to the Stations of the Cross, Jesus fell three times whilst on his way to his execution. I do not know about you, but I would have just laid there. No urgency to get up. However, Jesus did carry on. Even if it meant that Simon had to carry the beam for him, he still got up and plodded to his own death. Jesus apparently was not a quitter. It just was not in him. He was on a mission.
Throughout our scriptures, we have tons of examples of people like Hannah, Paul and Stephen who did not quit in the face of hardship. In fact, according to Paul, the adversity just seemed to make them all the tougher and more determined. Let’s follow their example in our own lives. We might not have to literally carry our own cross, but Jesus did say we would have some kind of cross, a hardship, to bear. As it turns out, for us Christians, we do have a plan even when we get knocked down. We get back up in faith.