Anne “Lightning-fast” Charles

Boxing gloves hanging in dressing room

Ding, ding, ding, rung the bell to start the match. Both opponents quickly stepped forward and touched gloves. Thus began the onslaught. Anne grimaced at her opponent while nimbly dancing from left to right. Her opponent’s futile attempt to land a punch failed again, and again. Anne wasn’t worried. She was the undisputed champion of women’s boxing in the state of Georgia. Her opponents hadn’t so much as made her sweat before she began to pummel her victim with a deft combination of jabs that left them writhing on the canvas.

Her boxing technique was harmonic. When she was finally bored with toying with her opponent the lightning strikes would begin. Crack! Right jab to the ribs. ! Crack! Overhand right to the jaw. Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack! Ribs, Jaw, Jaw, Ribs, until her opponent lay lifeless. Announcer: “Victor by knockout, and still undisputed champion of Georgia, Anne” Lightning-fast” Charles!

(20 years later)

“Will I ever make it up this hill? I need to make it to the pharmacy so I can get my medication for my kidneys. I’m not strong enough to wheel myself up with my wheelchair. Maybe if I get out and use my chair for support, I can make it. I can do this”. So the woman gathered all of her might and lifted herself up out of her chair. She immediately became light headed as she stood and held on the arm of her wheelchair. “Phew! That almost took all the strength I had just to stand. How will I ever make it up this hill?” So she began her fumbling walk up the hill. Her rickety wheel chair wouldn’t stay stable enough for her to keep a straight path. As she leaned on her chair for support it would veer to the right and almost escape her grasp. After two hours of what seemed to be an eternity of walking she realized she had made no headway in her journey. It had become dark, and she had no energy left. “This is it. I give up.” And she collapsed.

As she lie on her back on the cold road she watched as the clouds began to gather from all directions and the sky turned a pale gray. She could hear the sound of thunder and soon after the flash of lighting. Crack! Went the lightning. Boom! Sounded the thunder. As she watched the storm the lightning was almost peaceful to her. She smiled and as a tear trickled down her face she thought, “’Anne ‘Lightning-fast’ Charles…How funny? I can’t even move. I guess this is it. My only defeat in my career. My only knockout. At least I get to see this beautiful storm before I go and for that I thank you Jesus. I never did believe in you. But now, I see who you are. I can see you now. Thank you for this peace”. She smiled and closed her eyes.

As she opened her eyes, Anne felt a sense of weightlessness. “I must be flying.” She thought. “The sky is pink. I never much liked pink. But it looks nice in the sky.” She awoke in a hospital bed, to an open window and a sunny sky. “I must have been rescued. It’s a miracle I didn’t die.” She chuckled, as she thought of her vain efforts to climb that hill. As she reached around looking for the button to call for something to drink she opened a drawer and in it she found a bible. She gently picked up the bible and placed it in her lap. The book fell quickly fell open to 2 Corinthians and she thought, “That was lightning fast”. Her eyes fell to verse 9 in chapter 12 and she read, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Anne was overcome by an overwhelming sense of peace and utter joy, and she wept.

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