Do you remember the old Timex watch commercials? Some guy would literally bash a Timex, or throw it off a rooftop or seemingly hundreds of other things that you could think would destroy that poor watch. The commercials were certainly attention getters…as was their marketing slogan: “Timex – it takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” Ah, the good ol’ days!
Watches weren’t the only tough things in those days of yesterday. There were also some pretty tough guys. History students will recognize Teddy Roosevelt as the 26th President of the United States. He is famous for his quote, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” TR was one tough guy. How tough was he? This tough…on October 14, 1912, while in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to give a campaign speech, a man walked up to Roosevelt, pointed a gun at his chest and shot him at point blank range. The bullet lodged near a rib, but fortunately stopped short of his heart. The reason for Roosevelt’s good fortune was that he had folded his 50 page speech and placed it in his coat pocket. The bullet was slowed down by his heavy overcoat, 100 pages of paper, and his eye-glass case. Those traveling with Roosevelt insisted that he go to the nearest hospital for treatment, but Roosevelt wouldn’t hear of it! He coughed a few times and spit on the ground to see if he saw any blood. There was none. Roosevelt thus figured that the bullet didn’t do that much damage; it hadn’t penetrated his heart or lungs, so he went ahead and delivered his speech. All 50 pages worth! It was a 90 minute speech, delivered entirely with a bullet lodged in his chest. He was certainly wounded, seriously wounded. But Roosevelt wasn’t about to quit! He was on a mission and a minor setback like being shot in the chest was no hill for a climber!
Life can be full of sudden surprises, though we hope that none are as shocking as being shot. Still, we know that as Christians, we live behind enemy lines and the threat of attack is constant. Paul promised us that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12, NKJV). We are guaranteed to face trials and difficulties. Yet, we press on because we know that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength!
Certainly Paul was well aware of the hardships encountered by living for Christ. In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul details many of the problems he dealt with in his ministry. These included beatings, stoning, imprisonment, shipwreck, hunger, thirst and constant peril from all directions. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 Paul wrote, We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. Paul was indeed wounded physically, emotionally and spiritually. But like Teddy Roosevelt, he kept on going. There was simply too much to do to let any worldly issue get in his way. Paul kept his eye on the prize and he focused on living his life for Jesus; doing and saying all things in His name.
Then there’s your story. If you’ve been a Christian long enough, you likely have also suffered wounds. It’s in those times when we hurt that we need to decide how we will proceed. It is always easy to quit; to stop the pain, throw up the white flag and just surrender. Or, you can spit on the ground, look for blood and seeing none, keep on moving forward, keep on fighting the good fight.
The life of a disciple is not promised to be an easy life. However, it is promised to be a rewarded life. The devil can chip away at us a little at a time or he can deliver one big blow. However, the greatest irony of all is that the worst thing that Satan can do to a faithful Christian is to take their physical life; and that’s exactly when the reward for faith begins!
Brethren, keep your heart and mind focused on things above. If Satan gives you a licking, just keep on ticking. Take heart! Your salvation is nearer now than when you first believed!