People who are fans of the American sport of football are familiar with the term blitz. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word refers to “a sudden overwhelming bombardment; a rush of the passer (quarterback) by a defensive linebacker, back, or end in football.” For those who are not too savvy regarding the game, a blitz takes place when an excessive number of defensive players approach the line of scrimmage with the intention of tackling the quarterback for a significant loss of yardage. Blitzes can change the momentum of the game for the defense; however, on certain occasions, it can be a tremendous opportunity for the offense to score and potentially win the game.
In writing this, my purpose is not to focus on football, but to talk about life. The Word of God is clear that our lives will experience highs and lows; ups and downs. There is no need for you to sit around and hope that you will never experience a blitz. There will be blitzes in life. Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV). In this passage, Jesus gives His disciples important advice for handling life’s blitzes. He says, “Be of good cheer.” As a believer, our joy is not dependent upon the blitzes in our life, but upon the Lord Jesus Christ. During the days of Nehemiah, people gathered at the Water Gate to hear him proclaim, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The biggest challenge relative to the blitzes in life is that most of the time, they come unannounced. No one is ever fully prepared for a blitz. As a three-time cancer survivor, as I look back, there was never a time when I was prepared to hear the “C” word. I remember asking my doctor when I began my first round of aggressive chemotherapy treatments, “What is my life going to be like for the next six months?” I will never forget his answer. In fact, I have drawn upon it more than once in dealing with life’s blitzes. He said, “It will be what you make it.” Great answer! Great advice! I have learned how important a good attitude is in dealing with a blitz. I am confident this is what Jesus meant when He advised His disciples on how to handle tribulation, “Be of good cheer!” This is a choice. You can choose to wallow in self-pity or rejoice in opportunity. Abraham Lincoln said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
No matter who you are – man, woman, youth, leader, etc., blitzes are going to take place. Our initial response will most likely determine the outcome. Unfortunately, blitzes are a part of the maturing process in our Christian walk. I find personal strength in Paul’s writing in Romans 5:3-5, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” The Apostle was acquainted with ministry blitzes (problems and trials) and understood God’s purposes for developing Christian character. On numerous occasions, what may look like the worst, can actually turn out to be the best. The blitz may knock you down, but be determined to get back up and seize the opportunity to flourish and grow in Christ.
Bill Terry is the National Director for Men’s Ministries and the Assistant Director for Discipleship Ministries. Bill resides in Oklahoma City with his lovely wife Rita, where they will celebrate 44 years of marriage in 2015. He is the proud head of an extended family that includes two sons Gregory and Rodney, daughters-in-law Holly and Brec, granddaughters Grace, Annie, Emily and Elena and grandson Adam Gregory.