Never will I ever ask this of God again. There is a part of a man that makes him believe he is capable, but he is not. I am beyond the point where I can heed such a warning as this. I have suffered the cost of my prayer. You, who reads this, be warned. As His word says, He is an all-consuming fire.
I stood amongst the crowd in the dark, awaiting the announcer to begin the introductions. By this time, I was fueled by anger and malice. My opponent was a strong, prideful man – the perfect image for America. His blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin reeked of privilege, and that privilege was on display that night.
I do not remember when and why this all started. I only remember the words he dared to utter before God. He said, “God won’t protect him from me. God hasn’t protected them ever. Pray, dance, and holler all he wants. His fake God won’t help him against these real hands. I’ll put him in the dirt just like they did Jesus.” That was the only statement that was able to provoke me. It felt racist beneath my black skin and antichrist against my Christian heart. It was not the challenges, the antics, the threats, or the trash talking. Those few sentences alone ignited a rage within me, and I arrived, light blue gloves, white trunks with light blue stripes, and light blue shoes to see him defeated.
As the announcer spoke into the microphone, I asked God one thing, “Let me become Your wrath. Take over.” I was furious. I wanted to beat the snot out of him. I wanted to beat him so badly that he would never ever think to cross God or His people again. My intentions were not just, yet the Lord answered me in the dark.
What I thought would be fury, became a stillness. People were shouting, chanting, and talking above the music and announcing. Yet, I was intensely focused. There was no excitement, nor any fear. It felt more like the eye of the hurricane. That, deep down, worried me. My rage had been taken from me and it was being replaced with something far more deadly.
A hand tapped my shoulder, and suddenly, my body was pushed forward. Things were whispered in my ear. Other things were shouted from the stands. I understood none of them. My attention was on the blood pumping through my heart. It felt different. I could not tell you why.
This physiological change led me to the ring. My feet felt light as I walked up the matted metal stairs. My shoulders felt broad as I stepped between the white ropes. I looked over to my opponent’s side of the ring. I was no longer determined to beat him, but rather expectant. I did not feel furious. I felt sorrowful. I knew I was going to end him… but I didn’t know just how severely.
Startled by the quiet rage taking over me, I knelt towards my corner and prayed. I was asking God what He would have me do. I didn’t really want to fight him, but I was here. I had accepted his challenge and went through every step to get into the ring. I told God that if He wanted me to walk out of the ring, I would. His only reply was, “Listen.”
My coach began to go over strategies on how to handle his fighting. My opponent was taller and his reach was longer. He was more fit than I, and stronger. Watching his previous fights, I knew I was going to struggle against him. He took his training seriously.
That’s when I heard the announcer shout his name: James Peters. The crowded roared far more proudly than they did when my name was called. It was so significant of a difference that even my coach stopped talking to me to pay attention to Peters walking in.
Before my prayer at the arena’s entrance, this would have angered me. He was supposed to be coaching me. He shouldn’t have been so easily distracted. Yet, at that moment, I felt nothing. My coach was not the target of this newfound wrath. The target wasn’t even a person. As Peters approached, I merely felt inclined to bow my head and listen, as God instructed me.
I felt the shoulder taps from those around me. I felt the mat beneath my feet shake and the white ropes wiggle. I heard his voice, but Peters was not the voice I was looking for, so I refused to gather the words to know just what he said. I was sure that he was only further antagonizing me like he had been doing when this all started.
The only words to break my meditation were, “He’s a coward! Look at him! Won’t even look me in the eye! What ya doin!? Praying!? God’s not gonna save you! You worship a coward! He got killed on the cross, by men- men like me! Strong men! He’s weak, and you’re weak! If you want to worship a god so bad, bow down to me! By the end of this fight, you’ll be way more afraid of me than Him, anyway!”
Those in my corner started talking, but for some reason, I felt like smiling. This was not how I would respond to someone saying such things. I knew something was different in me. I didn’t even open my eyes to acknowledge him. I was just going to settle it all after the bell.
I was lifted up to my feet. My smile disappeared and my eyes opened. The only face I focused on was that of James Peters. I wasn’t trying to stare him down for intimidation. I was there for a purpose. Everyone else disappeared for me. I was eerily focused.
My cutman began covering me in petroleum jelly. I watched a smirk erupt from Peters’ lips and then blew me a kiss. It was the same smug expression that would’ve angered me before, or at the very least annoyed me. In that moment, it was just something else to observe. He was a hollow man trying to be full – a dead man trying to be alive.
He lifted his arms up and turned to the crowd. Most of the arena was cheering for him. I was not surprised, nor was I jealous of this. I knew I was the bad guy of this fight. What started as a man challenging another man to a boxing match turned into a war on Christianity and, subsequently, religion.
Satan had orchestrated the event rather deviously. I was posting videos of me sparring with other boxers. Those videos were meant to reveal the results of my exercising. They were never intended to incite rivalries with fighters. Yet, a friend of Peters’ randomly whispered in his ear, “I bet he could beat you,” and from that moment forward, Peters wanted to fight me.
In the beginning, his jests on the idea of us fighting were playful and harmless. Then, he became more aggressive when I wouldn’t respond. I never provoked him. I didn’t even know who he was. Yet, he began uttering foul things about those closest to me. He was no longer satisfied with just talking about me. He had to research who I cared for, and talk about them also.
When those antics didn’t work, he took it a step further and started talking about Christianity. That’s when he said, “God won’t protect him from me. God hasn’t protected them ever. Pray, dance, and holler all he wants. His fake God couldn’t help him against these real hands. I’ll put him in the dirt just like they did Jesus.”
Shortly after, reporters were questioning me about at the gym I frequented. His followers began to harass me wherever they saw me. Even evil whispers escaped the mouths of friends and family. I would hear, “You gonna let him talk about us like that?”, “You gone let that white boy punk you?”, and, “Can’t you represent yo people just this once?” The influence of Satan was strong in many.
It was strange how popular this challenge became. I wasn’t another celebrity. I was a simple man, walking through life seemingly unnoticed. Still, Peters was adamant about fighting me.
After I accepted his challenge, I tried to figure out why this was happening. I wanted to know what it was about me that caused him to become obsessed. I received my answer after talking a little bit about the Lord. Soon as I revealed my relationship with God, he began to talk rudely about Christianity.
He used the Bible to paint me as the villain of society. The obvious standings against homosexuality, zodiac signs, sex outside of marriage, drunkenness, and various other sins already bothered most people. That, combined with the misinterpretations of Christian nationalism, slavery, judgement, patriarchal worship, and other ideals along with the clear evidence of hypocrisy throughout the Church, fueled the narrative that he was finally standing up for those who had been oppressed by the Church and religion. Suddenly, it was less about a fight and more about something else altogether. He even wore rainbow-colored gloves, trunks, and shows, to further his stance.
Even still, as his gloves returned to his sides and his gaze towards me, I did not wish him severe harm. I only felt that this moment was going to be the lesson he had to learn. As I said, it was less about us and more about the bigger picture.
Hands pressed against my back, and I was led to the center of the ring. The referee stood between us as someone held a microphone up to his mouth so that he could speak. He kept us separate with hands against our chests, but I had no intention of taking any cheap shots. I knew God was going to give me plenty of opportunities before the end.
We did not touch gloves. We only stared at each other with malice. It wasn’t until my coach stepped in front of me that I realized my expression had turned grim. He told me, “You don’t have to kill him, alright. Just show him who you are.”
Who was I? I didn’t know in that moment. The question took me outside of myself. I started to analyze just how I had gotten inside of a ring with a celebrity for a boxing match. None of it made sense to me.
Trying to quickly center myself, I asked, “Who am I?” I responded, “I am-,” and I froze. “I am…”
Those two words came from Exodus 3:14, “I am that I am.” I looked up into the stage lights to listen one last time. God told me, “Do not swing.”
Hearing those words in a boxing match sounds insane. Who enters into the ring to not throw a punch? I wasn’t exactly sure of what I heard, but I was fully intent on obeying what was spoken. The crowd began to roar, the corners were emptied, and I stood, still processing.
The bell sounded, and Peters was charging towards me. I entered my stance, and so the fight began. My guard was up and, very early, I had to duck. He chased me in his fury, trying to beat me with his swings. I created separation, unsure of whether or not I would still listen to God. I could feel the throbbing from the initial blows. My body was moving quickly to recover, but there were seven more rounds.
A minute into the fight, and people were already screaming for me to throw a punch. Some had even started to boo. They were attempting to pressure me into disobeying God, but I was not moved. Instead, I ducked, dodged, stepped back, and shuffled about the ring. I only stayed in my stance to defend or feint with my footwork.
This did not please the crowd, but it did let me know that Peters was beatable. I found myself pausing often to stare at the breaks between his guard. I was analyzing him. His hits were not going to break me. His glare was not going to intimidate me. When I needed to move, I could move. When I needed to escape, I could escape. I only needed God’s permission to swing.
Before I knew it, the three minutes were up and the round was over. I was bitter. I lost that round, according to judges, but I kept my feelings to myself. My coach and cutman were angry with me. They asked me why I didn’t throw one punch after seeing so many opportunities, and I did not have an answer for them. I could only tell them, “God and I are handling it.”
The first round brought me this clarity on God’s wrath. His wrath is not pressured. It does not rely upon early advantages, strong starts, or clear opportunities. It bears the brunt of whatever is being thrown at it, whether a rebellious Christian or a chauvinistic atheist. His wrath endures whatever we give it, in our full strength, and does not retaliate. His wrath waits patiently. It does not wait for a moment to strike, but rather, it relents until it is ordered to wait no longer.
I kept my eyes on Peters, who was just as confused as I. The only difference is that my confusion made me patient, while his confusion enraged him. I could tell he was not satisfied with the first round. He wanted me to fight back. He wanted to knock me down. My patience with God was making him feel like he was being toyed with.
The referee walked back towards the middle of the stage. Our aids retreated back to their seats. Peters and I rose simultaneously, never taking our eyes off of each other. The bell sounded, and I was thrown into the fight again.
Peters came out even stronger. I could see the light blue mat bouncing with each stomp he took. He started to swing with the intent to knock me down. The blows against my arms and abdomen began to alert me to the pain. I wanted to swing just to make him back off, but I held my ground. My ability to escape was challenged, as he cut me off and tried to keep me against the ropes.
By now, the boos from the crowd began to grow louder. They began to shout over the cries from my corner to throw a punch. My jaw was tingling, my right eye felt swollen, my shoulders were burning, and my forearms were screaming in pain. Still, I had not heard the order to swing. I wanted God to give me the command. Yet, I remained patient.
Peters had swung himself into an early fatigue, so near the end of the round, he did not pursue me with as much intensity. He was starting to catch his breath. Then, the warning tick sounded.
Peters launched at me with full strength, stepping on my toes as I dodged. This threw my balance off just enough for me to end up in a corner. There, Peters trapped me and began beating me down. Between the flurries of jabs, hooks, uppercuts, and power strikes, I was having a hard time seeing a way out of the corner. Ten seconds started to feel like a full minute. He hit me a few times in the face, almost dazing me. I felt my feet lift from the ground just as the bell sounded, but I remained standing.
The crowd roared with hatred over my obedience. They began to chant, “Make him bow! Make him bow! Make him bow!” Understandably, everyone was angry with me. Even my coach and cutman were furious with my outright rejection to fight in a boxing match. They were justly angry with me, but could find no rebuttal when I said, “Trust me as I trust God.”
Part of me wanted to be upset. Part of me wanted to be furious. Was God using this match to punish me? Was I being used to show the savagery of this sport? Was this moment a joke to Him? All these questions were instantly silenced with an intense focus upon Peters. I was unusually drawn to him. I was so focused on him that I didn’t even acknowledge the referee when he came to our corner.
He warned that I needed to throw a punch in this round, or he’d have to discontinue the fight. He didn’t want to be accused of making a bad call. He didn’t want to watch me get beaten like a slave. I understood the concerns of my fellow Black men, but I was learning something new about God’s wrath.
God’s wrath is not satisfied with petty comments. He does not delight in half-hearted rebellion. He wants you to go all in. He wants you to commit to your atrocities before He responds. God is willing to take the full force of your anger and frustration. He will endure your disobedience, mockery, outright disrespect, and violence. He will endure every bit of your perversions before He reacts. While a man can only take suffering for a little while, it takes generations for God to decide He will retaliate.
He is not satisfied with the few people who are bold enough to speak out against His name. He wants everyone who has issue with them to voice their concern. He drew my attention to the crowd’s chanting. He told me that Lucifer did not get cast out of heaven alone but with a third of the angels. Lucifer was not the only angel to reject Him, and Peters wasn’t the only who needed to be silenced. I still did not know how He intended to prove to those watching that He is, He was, and He will always be God.
I rose to my feet once again and the bell sounded. The chants rose again with the boos. “Make him bow! Make him bow! Make him bow!” echoed across the arena. The referee told me to throw a punch, my coach told me to throw a punch, and others shouted the same thing. They all wanted me to fight back. Yet, here I was again, against the ropes taking a beating.
My feet had grown tired from moving around. My breath was exhausted from all the clinching I had done to absorb the blows. My body was tired, and my body wasn’t going to last eight rounds. I knew this. Still, I waited patiently for His authorization. Surely, He would not let me go down this way, not after I had learned so much in this experience.
Then, Peters stepped away and raised his arms in frustration. He angrily ordered me to retaliate against him. The referee wanted me to go and hit him. Peters leaned his chin towards me, daring me to strike. The crowd shouted for me to hit him. Everyone wanted me to do what they ordered rather than what God ordered. I understood the lesson being shown to me.
God’s wrath does not come from retaliation. God’s wrath comes when man no longer heeds His voice. It is like a pocket of oxygen in a sunken ship. A man can live for days inside that pocket, and God can last for generations in a sunken world. Only when the air has left, and the breath of God has retreated, can wrath finally strike to kill a man.
I stepped towards Peters and wrapped him in my arms. He relaxed his arms and groaned as the crowd booed. I had not been ordered to strike, and so I would not. Frustrated, Peters shook violently to break free. In the shaking, he wrapped his head around my shoulder and swiped his forehead across my jaw. I stumbled back, but again, I did not fall.
The referee paused the fight to give a warning to Peters for the headbutt. Peters shrugged his shoulders and returned to his fighting stance. He wanted to anger me. He wanted me to be angry as he was. I would not downgrade my rage to a humane experience. I remained in a state of righteous fury.
After the referee resumed the fighting, Peters backed onto the ropes and waited. Everyone shouted that I should attack. He spread his arms wide and shouted mockingly, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!?” The tick sounded and he shouted, “It is finished.”
He rose from the ropes and charged me again. I blocked as best I could, but I endured more heavy-handed punches. I was caught in the jaw, the left eye, the cheek, the stomach, and the chest before the bell sounded. Thinking I was free from harm, Peters pushed me down and stood over me.
The referee immediately grabbed Peters and pulled him back to his corner and deducted a point from his total. The referee approached Peters to discuss, but the crowd booed heavily.
“What!?” Peters asked in anger.
“That’s your last one! The next one, you’ll be disqualified!” the referee warned.
“He’s not fighting back! He’s too scared!”
“Don’t throw the fight!”
“I’m just sayin-.”
“Don’t throw the fight!” the referee shouted.
Peters sat in his corner with anger as they gave him water and coached him. There were no hits to check for or any scratches on his body. He was only a little winded from having dominated the fight so far. I was the one being attended to.
As my cutman sealed up a cut on my left eyebrow, the referee approached me. He looked at the cut on my eye and the swelling in part of my face. He shook his head and asked, “Is he good to continue?”
My coach looked at me if usure. I nodded calmly, looking beyond my coach towards Peters.
“If he doesn’t throw a punch this round, I’m calling the fight a no contest,” the referee warned.
“You hear that,” my coach asked. He looked up and asked, “You hear that, God?”
“I’m serious. You have to throw a few punches or that’s it,” the referee declared.
I simply nodded again, having my mouthpiece reinserted after my wound was sealed. This fight was taking its toll on me. I was definitely tired of running, tired of getting hit, and tired of not hearing from God. Doubt settled in. What if I was listening to my fear rather than God?
Just before I could venture down that path, my cutman tapped my back and I had to stand. I looked across the way, fully prepared to lose the fight. If God said nothing, I would take this public loss, embarrass the church community, Black community, and boxing community, and be content with the plethora of questions to follow.
Just as the bell rang, I heard clearly, “Swing.”
I did not question this voice. It was not the voice of man but the voice of God. It was clear, yet as soft as a whisper. It was firm, yet quiet. My order had been given.
I stepped towards Peters ready to do some damage. I had a lot of pent-up frustrations that needed to be unleashed immediately. Peters went to taunt again, but stood guard when I stepped within range. He was just as ready as I was to land some true blows.
He had a consistent combo. I had studied him for three rounds. He’d step in and throw a jab to the face. Then, he’d follow it with a quick cross behind the jab. Next, he’d step to the right and throw a hook to the body. Finally, he’d finish the combo with a retreating jab. It was how he managed to use his length to attack the face and the body while enabled recovering for counters.
If I interrupted his second step, or the cross to the face, he’d throw a quick counter jab to follow the initial jab to my face to reestablish his distance between us. Then, he’d pause for a moment, and continue back to the hook to the body. That is when I’d assume he would be the most vulnerable. It was the gamble I decided on as soon as he stepped forward.
For him, I was only feinting again. I had to keep him entertained so that I could go another round without swinging a punch. He connected to my glove with a jab. I stepped to my left to cut him off. He corrected his footing with a retreating jab. Then, he stepped in for a body blow with a hook. It was here that I countered him.
It was just as his glove grazed my skin that I thrusted my hips to the right and swung with a hook of my own. I had used my arms only to defend, so their speed was much faster than the fatigued Peters’ swings. He hadn’t landed the hit for a tenth of a second before my glove collided with his temple.
His head violently whiplashed over his shoulder. His entire body shifted and suddenly stiffened. His glove slide across my stomach and flew into the air without any retracting. His body plopped onto the mat like he had jumped from the ropes in a wrestling match. He lied limp as the crowd hushed into gasps.
The referee quickly called the match, waving his hand above his head while signaling for medical staff to come to Peters. His body had only softened and sunk. Peters’ eyes crossed for a moment. He had to blink to restore them to their proper place. Though his eyes recovered, the rest of him did not. The rest of him waited for something to order it to move. It fell silent.
The medical staff came into the ring and tended to Peters. You watched it as I did. They pushed me to the side and knelt down, talking with Peters. His mouth was moving, but his body was not. I could not hear anything coherent from his lips. I only saw him blinking repeatedly as he talked with the referee and medical staff.
One hit, on target, paralyzed James Peters. He would not move for the remainder of the night, despite his desire to do so. He would have to be turned over by the medical staff and carted out on a stretcher. It was the final lesson I had learned about God’s wrath as I sat, watching the traumatic experience unfold.
When God decides to unleash His wrath, there is no longer any mercy left. Those who are righteous will be saved. Those who are unrighteous will be destroyed. He did it during the flood with Noah. He did it during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. He laid waste to the unrepentant Egyptians. He slaughtered the disobedient Israelites. He obliterated the Canaanites with His armies. He removed several lesser groups and individuals along the way.
His wrath is devastating. It does not miss, it does not hold back, and it will annihilate its target. There is no escaping it outside of the acceptance of salvation. Even in the future, He promises to swallow whole anyone, whose name is not written in the Book of Life, with an all-consuming fire. It says He will lick them up in the blink of an eye. God’s wrath does not whittle down its opponent. It ends it all with one blow.
There will be no excuse great enough to justify any continued mercy. There will be no glory for those who were consumed. They will only be reduced to old warnings for the next generation. Make sure you do not end up like James Peters.
I was in awe that God allowed one punch to end the fight. Though I was expecting to end him, I assumed it would take several rounds and knockdowns. I did not think he would cave after one punch. I was just as shocked as you.
We took the gloves off, we looked inside of them, and we had them tested for any illegal substance. There was none to be found. James Peters went down because God willed it, and that was the only reason he was broken. It surprised me just as much as it surprised you.
I was shaken to the core. My God did not play about me, and He does not play about His name. He will not be mocked, and He will not be stopped. His will is the only will guaranteed to see completion. This knowledge lit a fire in my spirit.
It is why I began to worship God in my corner as Peters was carried out of the ring. It is why I kept trembling as I walked around the ring speaking in tongues. It is why I fell to my knees and cried with tears of joy. I was not excited that I had paralyzed a man. I was in awe of God’s power.
I had been consumed by the fire of the Holy Spirit. I no longer paid attention to the words I was speaking. I had surrendered fully to the will of God in that moment. I didn’t care how it looked. My God just showed the world His greatness. I was His vessel.
The prophecy that followed shocked everyone, including me. I had no idea I was going to say that. I had surrendered my body and my voice to Him. Whatever He had for me to say was going to be said. You can watch the tape and see that I was filled with the Holy Ghost. There was no acting in my movements. I am not skilled enough to fake all the things I did. I am not able to stay in character like an actor is. I was truly surrendered.
That is why I took the microphone from the reporter and said, “Let every witness under the sound of my voice heed the word of God. God is not pleased with you, America. He has sat back for three centuries, waiting for you to change your ways, but you are an arrogant, spoiled people. In all of your blessings, you have forgotten Me.
You forgot Me when you continued to enforce slavery upon innocent people. You have forgotten Me in your schools and elections. You have forgotten Me in your wars and labor. Your pledge says ‘One Nation, Under God, indivisible’, yet you have been divided against one another and you have turned your back on Me, lusting after every little pleasure you find.
Therefore, in the fourth century, I will strike you with a mighty blow, toppling you like a tree that has been chopped by an axe. You will not be spared from the fall. You will be severed by My hand, because you have forgotten Me.
As in this fight, I have waited three centuries for you to repent. You have accused Me of ruining nations and being unable to rule with your separation of church and state. You have labeled Me a horrid teacher and one God of many for your children with your Engel v Vitale. You have made room for everyone by taking room from Me, and I have sat quietly, waiting for you to realize your mistake. However, you have only continued to be puffed up and rebellious. So, My wrath will visit you soon.
I have suffered through your slavery, false teachings, and civil wars. I have suffered through your capitalism, abuse of power, and greedy industrial booms. I have suffered through your ‘revolutions’ of thought and freedom. You think you are right, and that is why you refuse to listen.
Just as one punch took down a man, so shall one strike from My hand topple you. You have made money your God. You have turned My rainbow into a symbol of sin. You have mocked My bride and filled her pulpits with false teachers. I am that I am, and there is no other God before Me. Lest you repent of your sin and turn back to Me, I will strike you with such calamity that you will be known for your demise more than you will ever be known for your flag. They will mention you alongside Sodom and Gomorrah. I am the Lord.”
God was no joking. I was not playing a part. I was not the author of those words. The Lord used me as a warning to everyone who reads this. We need to repent. We need to turn away from our pleasures and make God the only God of our lives. A wrath unlike anything we’ve ever tasted it coming if we don’t.
I took no pleasure in paralyzing James Peters. I took no pride in representing any people. There was no joy found in embodying the wrath of God. The whole experience was nerve-wracking and terrifying. There is a part of a man that makes him believe he is capable, but he is not. Never will I ever ask this of God again…