Sucker Punch on the Second Row

There’s nothing like a sucker punch to the gut to get your attention. 

You’d think a church service would be a safe place, and the second row of the church one of the safest of all. But with increasing levels of church-related violence, apparently even the most hallowed of sanctuaries aren’t totally protected. And who would have known a pastor was capable of delivering such a mean right hook?

Truth be told, the real blame for the sobering blow I received on Sunday morning belongs not to my pastor/husband, but to the Lord – and the living, active power of his Word.

The service started out well. Heartwarming prayer, uplifting music, a time of praise for what God had done in the past week. Then my pastor/husband introduced his sermon topic – Caleb, one of the twelve spies the Israelites sent into Canaan.

You know the story (and can probably sing the song – Twelve men went to spy on Canaan, ten were bad and two were good). The spies confirmed that the land God had promised them was a good land, filled with milk and honey. 

BUT (and this was a big but), there were giants in the land. Big, hairy, scary giants.

“The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there . . . We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them" (Num. 13:33).

“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’" 

But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are.’”

That’s when God got mad. 

And whooooooeeeeee, you do not want to be around when God gets mad. It’s also when I felt the air whoosh out of my lungs from the impact of his Words.

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?’” (Num. 14:11).

All of a sudden, God wasn’t talking to Moses anymore. Or the ten bad spies. Or even the faithless Israelites. 

He was talking to me. 

 And what he was saying took my breath away and made me hang my head in shame. This is what it sounded like in non-King James English: 

“How often will you wring your hands in fear when someone you love is sick, or hurt, or wayward? How many times will you doubt my ability to meet your needs? How long will you fret over circumstances you can’t manipulate or control?” 

“How long will you refuse to believe in my ability to care for you, in spite of all the miraculous works I have performed in your life?” 

I fell off a slide when I was seven years old. The impact broke my right arm and knocked the breath from my lungs. I couldn’t speak for several minutes. After I gathered my wits together, I picked myself up off the ground and ran to the teacher. 

On Sunday, when my breath returned, I gathered my wits together, picked myself up off the proverbial ground, and ran to the Teacher. 

Father, I prayed, I confess my sin before you. I doubt you when you have never, ever given me a reason to question your ability or your commitment. My fear flies in the face of your faithfulness and my faltering trust treats you with contempt. In the 35 years since you saved me, you have met my needs, filled my life with good things, and given me hope and purpose. You’ve walked with me through dark and scary times and brought beauty from ashes. Whenever fear tempts me to doubt, remind me of all you have done in the past. Grow my faith. Help me, like Joshua and Caleb, to walk boldly into the future you have planned for me. 

Now it’s your turn. Do you struggle to trust God in the face of frightening circumstances? What Scripture passages strengthen your faith? Leave a comment below. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.

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  1. Oh, Lori, I can so relate. And all I can do, when I finally come to my senses, is to do what you back to Him and repent. My wobbliness depends on the circumstances. Some things I'm able to fairly easily trust Him with and give over to Him, and others I white-knuckle and keep trying to take it back when I've placed it at His feet. Isaiah 41:10 is my favorite comforting verse...though Psalm 23 is equally soothing for me.

    1. True, true. So true. And yes, my wobbliness, too, often depends on circumstances. Like a friend once said, "The problem with living sacrifices is that they tend to want to crawl off the altar." Ouch.


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