Summary: Taken down. Shoulders on the mat. No way of escape seems available. Could it be that God is setting up reverse instead?
I have been involved in sports all of my life. My first love was baseball. I tried my hand at football. Later as my high school years came to a close I fell in love with basketball. And as most of you who have been attending here long know that I competed in cross country. However, one of the sports that I was involved in confuses some people. It is a sport that I believe is one of the most difficult and takes the most physical endurance. Many of the sports that I pursued relied on other people and taught teamwork. This sport, however, reveals more about individuals and a person’s heart and will. From the last 2 years of middle school until my junior year of high school I wrestled.
Wrestling is a sport of extreme discipline. It is all about leverage and also technique. A world famous wrestler once said, “Once you've wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” The practices were grueling. The physical demands extreme. One on one warfare is what the practices and matches feel like.
However, unless you understand wrestling it could be a little confusing. So here is a crash course in wrestling. If you manage to take your opponent down to the ground from a standing position you have scored a “Takedown” and you are awarded 2 points. If you can then turn that opponent onto his back you are awarded back points of either 3 or 5 points depending on how long you can hold them in that position. If you can put both shoulder blades on the mat you have scored a pin and the match is over. There are 2 other main scoring options that take place once a person has been taken down. If a wrestler, after being taken down, gets away from his opponent and regains his feet then he has “Escaped” and gets 1 point. If a wrestler is taken down, but then turns the tables on the opponent and switches positions into a controlling position he has scored a “Reverse” and receives 2 points.
With that short and simple explanation of how wrestling is scored, if you will allow me this morning I want to set up a backdrop against which we will move forward over the coming weeks. Today I just want to give you some thoughts before we dig into some accounts over the next few weeks from which we can learn some powerful truths!
1. Everyone will suffer a takedown.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are more scoring opportunities when you are offensively minded. But what I learned in wrestling is that at some point everyone is going to suffer a takedown. It didn’t matter how strong or dominate a guy was at some point someone would come along who would take him off his feet.
Some of us walk around acting like we are super Christians and that nothing can faze us. We never let anyone see us cry. We play like we are tough. But I came to tell you that everyone suffers a takedown at some point in their life. You might as well take off the mask and the tough guy act and own up to the fact that something in your life seems to always get the upper hand on you. Something seems to knock you off your feet every time. Something dominates you more times than not. Takedowns are part of life. They hurt. They are embarrassing. They are unsettling. They require recovery!
I will never forget the hardest takedown I ever suffered. In practice one of my teammates was behind me and picked me up with my arm trapped against my side and slammed me to the ground. It knocked me out. I still don’t know how I found my way home after practice. I didn’t know where I was, where I lived, or anything else. My dad took me to the doctor and I had a mild concussion and some amnesia.
Some of you have endured some brutal takedowns. Some of you have gone through some things that have knocked you off your feet, but have also knocked the wind out of you. You are dazed, bewildered, and the room is spinning.
For some of you the doctor’s diagnosis sent you to the mat. For some of you it was the sound of the voice that said, “I love you” now saying “I hate you” that has your head reeling. For some it has been the domination of an addiction that has put you face down wondering if you can ever recover. However, what I want you to know is that that a reverse isn’t possible until there has first been a takedown! The takedown doesn’t have to be the last word in the matter. The takedown doesn’t have to be the final blow struck in the match.