The hardest part of writing this blog may be explaining the background details that led me to a very profound thought last night in the midst of some of the deepest laughter I’ve engaged in in quite a long time. I was sitting on the couch trying unsuccessfully to watch a movie while my kids took showers. Unsuccessfully because my daughter, queen of all piddlers, had gotten me caught up in a competitive game of Peaknuckles. You probably don’t know what that is unless you grew up in the boonies without a television. It’s a very base sort of entertainment that’s incredibly hilarious due only to the human factor in it. It’s known by several names, Peaknuckles being the one I’m familiar with. A student informed me he and his brother called it “Bloody Mercy” and I also found on the internet that others simply refer to it as “Say Uncle.” Whatever. In our house, it will forever be known as Peaknuckles. The gist of the game is to interlace your fingers with the fingers of your opponent and then use all the strength you can muster to bend their wrists back to a place where they give up, yelling “Peaknuckles!!” And then you are declared the winner and they decide many times over to try to beat you until both of your hands are mangled and sore from this senseless form of competition, and your abs have had a thorough workout because of the laughter. This is why I don’t engage in Zumba or Crossfit. I get my workout done through housework and intense games filled with laughter. It works for me.
Anyway, she started it off as a way of distracting me from the fact that she should have been getting in the shower. And since I’ve been working longer hours than usual, it worked without any hesitation on my part. I loved the opportunity to just play for once. So, she started grappling with my knuckles and I caught on really quickly to what she was enticing me to, so I simply held my hand steadfast, knowing she didn’t have the strength to push my hand back to bend my wrist. But then, she became really determined to push my wrist back and with as much strength as she could muster, with her game face on, she gave it all she had. My hand didn’t budge. I looked at her face, contorted due to the effort she was putting forth, and busted up laughing. With each renewed effort, she grunted and groaned, trying her hardest to win this battle. I held my hand steady and laughed until it hurt and tears formed and slid down my cheeks. She gave it her best and failed every time. I won every time. It didn’t matter much because it was all in the spirit of fun. But as I was watching her during this game, I had this thought: “I can’t wait until the day I can look at Satan in the midst of the battle and know the strength inside of me so well that all I can do is laugh in his face because of the futility of his efforts against me.”
I have been in battle all week long. Intense battle. And Satan has come against me so strong on several occasions that though I was poised in the midst of them when other people were present, I fell apart the moment no one was looking and I just know Satan had a small victory just knowing he had shaken me. I felt a small victory, knowing that the Spirit of God had helped me maintain my witness. But I was also bothered by the fact that I couldn’t not let it get to me. I may have remained composed during the onslaught, but that was mainly just on the outside. The inside was still ruffled. Still frightened. Still hurt. And after it was all over, I still fell apart. I kept praying, “Father, whatever you are trying to perfect in me, don’t let up until I’ve changed.” And so every day this week, I’ve been in battle.
I don’t know if that day will ever come for me. I seem to be so sensitive that everything gets to me, and when the enemy attempts to ruffle my feathers, whether I portray it outwardly or not, I surrender my peace almost always. My joy is effectively stolen from me almost every time. I’ve never been able to laugh in his face, because I am so weak in my own strength. I cry out “Peaknuckles” in every battle I attempt to fight in my own strength. I don’t even know what that will look like, should it ever happen that I have the upper hand. And maybe that’s what keeps me humble.
But I know what it looks like for Jesus to laugh in Satan’s face. And that’s comforting. Jesus simply stands steadfast and laughs at Satan when he tries to pull something. Satan, with all determination in his face, can do nothing more than groan and grunt in effort against the power of Christ, but Christ will not budge. Man! That’s a guy I want playing in my place. He never loses. And in light of Christ’s strength, Satan seems almost comical in his hopeless attempts to battle the Son of God.
I think about all the things Satan is battling in my life: my future. Promises spoken from God that have yet to be fulfilled. The fullness of the will of God in my life. I have cried out in surrender over them many times, and then Jesus stands up and says, “No. Let me take this one.” And I am persuaded to trust his strength. And I look forward to the day when Satan will yell out in pain and helplessness, “Peaknuckles!!” And he will release those things he’s trying so hard to keep from me. And he will walk away rubbing his sore knuckles and Christ will hand them to me and say laughingly, “Did you see his face?!”