Recently in my Wing Chun group as the students were training with hitting pads, the lesson I emphasized was to hit beyond the pad; don’t just hit the surface! I repeated over and over and then I had to demonstrate it for them to hit at the point that is beyond the surface. When I showed them, they saw and felt the level of power that was generated, which had nothing to do with an increase in my musculature or pounding the surface harder. It had to do with where I was focusing. I recognized a target that I couldn’t necessarily see but perceived was there. The tendency of the students was to simply strike the surface of the pad, which meant they were just hitting the lining.
I think we often tackle issues in life in the same way. We are allured to hitting the surface issues of life, character and problems only because, frankly, that’s what we see in front of us. We tend to focus on what are in front, but these are often not the critical matters. When we target only the surface, we fail to realize that the main issues lie beneath. And most likely, the deeply embedded issues fuel the problems and challenges we experience on the surface. In other words, they are the roots of our difficulties. How often do we struggle with the same marital problems, self-esteem issues, financial troubles, emotional ailments, etc. because we only hit the surface. In the end, we run the hamster wheel of repeatedly and tiresomely attacking the surface matters and never really making a substantial dent in the root issues that allows us to triumph and move forward.
It reminds me of the lesson Jesus taught when he healed a paralytic (Mark 2:1-12). When this physically paralyzed man was brought before him, he did something unexpected – he forgave the man’s sins. A person looking on might think Jesus missed the point. Obviously, this man’s problem was that he was physically incapacitated, so what he really needs are his legs healed. Right? Did Jesus not see that? Or, perhaps Jesus saw something beyond the man’s problems on the surface; he saw the condition of the man’s soul and nature; he saw the man needed the healing grace of God for the restoration of his human condition, and the physical ailment was just a surface matter. It was suspected back then in the Judaic religion that physical handicaps could’ve been judgments from God for sins in his life. So by forgiving this man’s sins, Jesus met the spiritual needs of his soul and in turn restored also his broken body.
God is insightful and precise in targeting the real problems of our lives. We think it’s financial. We think it’s relational. We think it’s circumstantial. But really our issues are spiritual, and the spiritual affects all other areas. God wants us to ask the spiritual questions of who He is, what He says and what He wants. He wants us to address the conditions of our souls, our secret sins, and our relationships with Him (or lack thereof). While we fret over troubles on the surface, God is like a fighting coach in our corner screaming at us to strike beyond the surface! Don’t just hit what’s in front you! Because unless you hit the real target, you’ll never knock out the challenge you’re facing.