I’ve been a fan of boxing for a pretty long time now. I love boxing history and as a Christian believe that it is ultimately one of the best physical metaphors of the Christian life that people disregard. Most christians don’t enjoy talking about real spiritual warfare, but boxing helps make spiritual warfare understandable to me. I remember a couple years ago dealing with sin in my life and I was realizing that satan wouldn’t tempt me with huge things constantly. The temptations were slight and suttle enough that they were just bearable. The same would be said as if Satan was physically fighting us. He doesn’t go for an immediate knockout blow. He jabs us. He tenderizes us. And then when he’s softened us up enough, then he brings the strong stuff.
That stuff makes sense to me. It speaks my language.
When I heard that Manny Pacquiao had become a Christian, I was extremely excited. I was rolling over off the Jeremy Lin/Tim Tebow time-period, where it seemed as if some athletes who really stood up for their faith were excelling incredibly.
And even going into the Marquez fight, though I had heard about Manny’s conversion, I still wasn’t sure and was kinda pulling for Marquez. I didn’t get to watch the fight live but got on facebook right in time to see all the post about Manny being knocked cold. Immediately I found a clip online of the KO and was in shock. But of all of it, I wasn’t nearly as shocked with the outcome as I was of what came out. After the fight; the news articles, the postfight conference, the reaction of others, I saw a man who was humbly accepting it for what it was. I didn’t see excuses. I didn’t see bitterness. I didn’t see dissappointment. I saw a man who accepted it for what it was and moved on.
He deserved that win. He deserved the win the fight prior(Bradley). He outboxed both opponents. He was a Christian now and is standing 0-2. His own mother followed the fight up by saying that he lost because of his conversion from the Catholic faith.
With Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin, during their runs last year you saw 2 unexpected underdogs rise high on big public platforms and excell while standing firm in their faiths. With Manny Pacquiao, you see the guy who is supposed to win these fights lose, and lose bad while still standing firm in his faith.
Many people are blaming his loses on his conversion. His own trainer Freddy Roach voiced concern prior to the Marquez fight. What does this teach us?
If you are a Christian and you’re seeing this, aren’t we always supposed to be David defeating Goliath? Aren’t we always supposed to be victorious? Shouldn’t we always get to see the promised land?
I always wanna say yes but the truth is that God has a much bigger story playing out here then Pac-Man’s face in the ground. God has a redemptive plan that is going to be played through and in-spite of sports. Manny Pacquiao was face planted. There is no better picture of being defeated then that sight most of us won’t forget of Manny.
But we must remember, despite the Mayan calendar, this isn’t over yet. Manny may retire. He may go on to have that illustrious fight against Mayweather. He might just fight a couple more fights then focus on Politics and his faith. But one thing is for sure, God’s plan will continue.
I am not saying this in a way that lifts up Manny. But like Manny being face-planted, our savior was defeated. Unlike our savior though, Manny got up after a couple minutes. Our savior stayed down for 3 days. And in the process, he absorbed the wrath of his father in our place. He took that knockout blow. Unlike Manny though, our savior was perfect and had no sins. He seemed defeated but arose in three days.
Like Aslan in the Lion the with and the Wardrobe, he came back just as big and just as strong as he ever was.
I hope to see Manny back in the ring. I would love to see him bounce back from all of this. But I am not God. And I know that God has much bigger plans then, me or anyother boxing fans can imagine.