Tomorrow’s Newspaper Is In Your Hands
It was billed as the “Fight of the Century.” Two undefeated heavyweight champions, “Smokin’” Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali would finally clash on March 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The hype that was building up to this fight was enormous. 300 million people would watch it live on closed circuit TV.
At the time, Frazier held the World Boxing Association (WBA) and the World Boxing Council (WBC) Heavyweight Championship titles. Although the WBA and the WBC had divested Ali of his title in 1967 for refusing induction into the Armed Forces, The Ring Magazine still recognized him as the true champion.
Along with the loss of the WBA and WBC titles, Ali’s license to box in the US was also revoked. This imposed a three and a half year layoff on the champion. Many boxing enthusiasts questioned whether Ali would be able to bounce back after so long a lay off and whether he was past his prime.
By the time the two champions met, the country was deeply divided in their support for these fighters. The more conservative element of society backed Frazier. But the growing counter culture in America backed Ali and believed he had been unfairly robbed of both his title and his best years.
The fight lived up to every bit of its hype. It was a war, as were all three of the Ali-Frazier encounters. On this night in March 1971, Frazier emerged victorious with a unanimous decision. Ali would avenge this loss in their next two fights and would regain the championship in 1974.
I mention all this only to explain that Muhammad Ali’s defeat that night was a major factor in my conversion to Jesus Christ. You see, I was an extreme fan of the champion and took his loss very hard. To me, Muhammad Ali was a messianic figure and I identified deeply with his struggle against the oppressive government. In fact, the outcome of the Ali-Frazier battle meant so much to me that I couldn’t bear to listen to the “blow by blow” summary of each round. I just had to wait until I read the paper the following morning. Naturally, I was very upset to read about the outcome.
But God used my disappointment to steer me in Jesus’ direction. For no human being apart from Jesus Christ is worthy of such admiration and allegiance. I still respect Ali’s accomplishments, but have long ago come to grips with his human limitations. More, important I’ve found the true Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. And He has never known defeat, has never failed, and His Kingdom will inevitably triumph over all darkness and evil.
But that same sense of deep concern over the battle’s outcome continues to afflict me – again and again. The concern isn’t over a mere boxing match. Now it is over the present moral and spiritual battles that rage around and within us. A deep sense of anxiety rises and I ask myself, “What will be the outcome of all this turmoil? How will this year’s election turn out and what will be its ramifications? What will become of all the hatred and venom that erupts from peoples’ hearts? I can’t stand all this “blow by blow” reporting in the news. Can’t someone just give me a copy of ‘tomorrow’s newspaper’ so I can know ahead of time about the battle’s outcome and find some peace?”
Yes. God has given us a copy of tomorrow’s newspaper. It’s the Holy Scripture, particularly the Book of Revelation. And in this prophecy we read of Satan’s final doom and banishment. We read of Christ’s total and eternal victory over all evil. We read that “the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). We read of a New Heaven and a New Earth wherein only righteousness dwells and reigns forever.
Don’t be distressed by all the disturbing news you hear. God’s given you tomorrow’s newspaper and its headlines read that Christ’s Kingdom will come to earth and He will reign with His saints forever. So, as Jesus told us, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1, 27). Pray earnestly about the things that trouble you and believe His word that it shall turn out exactly as He promised.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, I am so weary and distressed over all the negative garbage I hear in the news. Help me to read Your newspaper and to feed upon its glad and encouraging tidings. Remind me that, soon and very soon, we will meet the Lord in the air and will remain with Him forever. Amen.