I’m not supposed to be blogging. I’m supposed to be checking my students’ essay-based literature exams, which will take me all night. But something about our reaction to Manny Pacquiao’s loss keeps me from working properly, and I need to express it here on Lessons Of A Dad before I go back to my work.
I’ll let a former student’s Facebook status update tell you what irks me:
“I love how Filipinos always find something to blame…The reason why Pacquiao lost is because he stopped being a Catholic and stuff about God. Really, man. Really.”
I’m sure there’ll be comments like what she’s calling out, and my knee jerk reaction was, “Manny’s new-found love for God is in no way responsible for his loss.”
But then, as I reflect further, maybe God, indeed, was responsible. Let me explain.
If Manny has truly given his life to Christ, than his life is no longer his. The funny (and sometimes incredibly frustrating) thing is, God has this habit of taking great men down a notch, sometimes several notches (at least, in the world’s eyes) for a bigger purpose.
It happened a LOT in the Bible: successful men all of a sudden looked very unsuccessful, even pitiful. Here are some examples off the top of my head:
•Joseph went from gifted Hebrew favorite son to Egyptian slave, sold to slavery by his own brothers (Imagine!). Then after rising to become the most trusted servant in Potiphar’s house, he gets thrown in jail for doing the right thing (he would’ve been a free man if he didn’t do the right thing).
•Moses went from a very privileged Prince of Egypt, recipient of the best luxuries, the best education, the very best that the greatest nation of its day had to offer; to becoming a lowly Midian shepherd who had nothing of the luxuries he used to enjoy…and scores of sheep as company.
•Matthew was a tax collector. Those guys were filthy rich in those days. He left that life behind to become a disciple of Christ. You don’t get a lot of bling-bling from traveling around, my friend.
I also have modern day examples of these. I’ve heard of a guy lamenting, saying, “Before I became a Christian, business was doing well. Now that I became I Christian, my business failed and I’m now in severe debt.”
I’m also reminded of a close friend of mine who gave his life to Christ, and His service, around the time he lost his job as one of the premier radio DJ’s in Cagayan de Oro City.
To people viewing their lives, I’m sure they’ll think that they went from boom to bust. Furthermore, I’m sure many of these bystanders would blame “their religion” or “their god” for their failures.
But, again, God has this habit of stripping away what we hold dear, what we think is success, so as to really see what’s really important.
Sometimes, you can only truly win after failure…and God teaches us that…and, more often than not, He does this to prepare us for greater things. Let’s go back to the Bibilical examples:
•Joseph meets Pharaoh’s chief butler while in jail, who later on through a series of events not only helps get Joseph out of jail, but Joseph quickly gets elevated to Egypt’s 2nd highest ranked official, only below Pharaoh himself, and brilliantly saves the whole nation in the process. This would not have happened if Joseph weren’t thrown in jail in the first place…and all of this would never have happened if Joseph’s brothers didn’t sell him when he was still a kid.
•Moses came back to Egypt and did the whole “Let my people go!” thing, in one of the most amazing accounts in the Bible freeing his whole people from tyrannical slavery. Of course, how the former slaves, numbering 2.5 million survived in the desert Exodus is a miracle, but who among the slave nation knew the survival skills needed to survive in such a harsh environment? One person knew these skills: Moses, as his time as a lowly shepherd was his “training.” Maybe keeping scores of sheep in line was training also, you know?
•Matthew and several others turned the world upside down in the movement we all know as Christianity. He had the privilege of being one of the original 12, the privilege of seeing Jesus post-crucifixion, and the privilege of spreading the Gospel. So many lives were transformed by the early church, Matthew being in the forefront of that.
And my modern day examples?
•The broke businessman amazingly was able to not only get out of debt (which numbered in the millions), but start a new endeavor (this time doing things honestly right from the start), which grew to great success, easily dwarfing his previous business. Before, he wouldn't care how his employees lived. This time around, he shares (shares, not shoves) his faith to the people who work for him so that they'll also be blessed like he was.
•My friend, who recently passed away, had is most fruitful and impactful years when he was out of a job. He was able to touch so many lives with his story and his passion for God. He had to be broken to realize what was really important, and it was not living for himself nor was it his success and local fame.
God also had to break me before I was able to be used by him. I wouldn’t have the views, and the impact, I have now if it weren’t for my life’s greatest failure.
Maybe I’m over-spiritualizing a knockout punch. But maybe I’m not. So was Manny Pacquiao's faith the reason why he lost? Maybe, or maybe not. Manny’s story is still being written. But if it’s like the examples I have noted above, then the best from Manny Pacquiao is still yet to come…and it may or may not come from inside the boxing ring.
Ok, I got that off my chest. Now I gotta get back to work.
(This blog site, Lessons Of A Dad is mostly about parenting, marriage, and other topics aimed to develop the reader’s mind, body, and soul. I’d consider it an honor if you’d follow or subscribe to this site. You can also go to my Facebook page here, and I’m also on Twitter at @lessonsofadad)
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