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Faith Will Outlast Its Foes

Does the name Laurence Tureaud mean anything to you? How about the name B. A. Baracus? Or Clubber Lang? Still striking out? How about "Mr. T."? Fans of Laurence Tureaud recognize him as the American actor who at one time or another played TV and movie characters with all the aforementioned names. My favorite is the Clubber Lang role played by Tureaud in the 1982 film Rocky III. The climax of the film is, of course, the boxing match between Rocky Balboa (played by actor Sylvester Stallone) and Tureaud's character Clubber. I don't like boxing, but I loved that film because it can be seen as a kind of analogy about the good fight of faith. In the title match Clubber starts off in the first few rounds beating the stuffing out of Rocky. Despite all his efforts to outbox Lang or cover up or hide from his punches, Rocky is knocked to the mat again and again under a withering hail of powerful blows. For awhile it seems Rocky is doomed to defeat. Lang is physically bigger than Rocky and definitely a lot "badder." But, like those Timex watches in the famous ad's a few years ago, Rocky "takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin.' " Some where in the later rounds Rocky begins a comeback, but in a surprising way. Rocky absorbs blow after blow after punishing blow from the fierce foe, but Lang just can't knock him out. Finally, Clubber Lang's strength is about spent. His punches lose power even as Rocky revives. In the end Rocky clubs Clubber and knocks him into next week! We can learn from the movie that sometimes victory comes not by out-punching a foe but simply by outlasting him. As Yogi Berra famously said, "It ain't over 'til it's over." That's why faith in God is so powerful. God's faithful people have proven for thousands of years they, too, can take a lickin' and keep on tickin' against even the fiercest opponents. In the end, faith in God defeats all its foes, even death. Proof for that is found in Hebrews 11:32-40 where the writer in quick order notes a series of things Old Testament characters did and survived through faith. We have no space to list them, but a scan reveals that through faith some enjoyed great triumph while others endured tremendous trials and suffering. The clincher is found in verse 39 where we read that "all these obtained a good testimony through faith" — they gained God's approval and the promise of being with Him. Whether victors or temporary victims, in the end faith outlasted all its foes and won the fight!

What foe do you face today? Are you suffering in your body or mind? Have your fondest hopes and greatest dreams been disappointed? Has the magic in your marriage turned to misery? Has your mate or someone else you love been untrue and broken your heart? Has disease hijacked your health or an accident disabled part of your body? Have you lost your job or home or hope? Are you away from the place and people where you long to be? Has life repeatedly knocked you to the mat? Read Hebrews 11:32-40. It is not time to quit! Faith always outlasts its foes! "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). Will you outlast your foes? You will if you keep faith in God.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ