When The Going Gets Tough

Read this featured blog post by Pastor Tony Rea

When The Going Gets Tough


I Can (series)

Andre Agassi, the highly accomplished and legendary tennis player is among my favorite sports heroes. Agassi is an eight-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one singles player. Who could ever forget his 1992 (same year we started CCC) Wimbledon championship which included wins over three-time greats Boris Becker and John McEnroe in quarters and semifinals. Throughout his illustrious career, Agassi never disappointed his tennis fans. He was a fierce competitor and true showman—always displaying remarkable style and skill.

Like many other athletes, Andre Agassi involved himself in the wonderful world of product endorsement, and early on in his tennis claim-to-fame, Agassi’s merchandise of choice was the Canon EOS Rebel camera. With an ultra-original and edgy marketing scheme, a very flashy 19-year-old Andre Agassi made famous a three-word slogan, “Image is everything.” That personal trademark enhanced his popularity and prompted his attitude and outfits to become even more outrageous. However, long before Agassi rejuvenated the whole image notion, I’ll have you know, I was already a huge fan of it.

With regard to proper police uniform, I was esteemed among my supervisors and peers alike for dramatically stretching the dress code. My hair was longer than what was allowed, and I never put my hat on; it would mess up my hair. I unclipped my tie, unbuttoned the top button of my shirt, donned a stylish vest, and instead of the standard boring tactical military shoes, I wore very fashionable black dress boots. My partner called them “Beatle boots.” As a result, on countless occasions, I was a recipient of verbal reprimands by my commanding officers for being out of uniform, and my personnel file had more than a few disciplinary write-ups for dress code violations; but then again, image is everything, right?

Now there’s a definite downside of opting for image over the recommended practical police wear—take shoes for instance. The soles on a good pair of tactical boots are usually made out of Vibram rubber. This type of sole is designed to provide excellent traction on a wide range of surfaces, having a high degree of abrasion resistance. Conversely, the soles on your average fashionable dress boots are leather, and leather on concrete or asphalt is the equivalent of stepping on a banana peel (cartoon style). Leather does not make for very good traction, especially when you’re running after a fleeing felon… Now that I’ve teed you up, you should know what’s coming.

Following a rather lengthy vehicular chase for a U.D.A.A. (unauthorized driving away of an automobile), a.k.a. a stolen car, the driver bailed out. Immediately I gave chase on foot, but two steps out of the scout car, as the leather soles on my stylish Beatle boots came in contact with the hard-concrete surface, my feet flew out from under me, and I landed flat on my back—hard! At that point, the car thief glanced at me and became amused. From my horizontal position, it appeared as though he was taunting me.

Keep in mind, the percentage of uniformed officers weighed down with multiple police gear items and a few extra pounds, LOL, catching teenage car thieves on foot is not all that great to begin with. I would say less than 25 percent; and now my guy had a huge head start, but… he laughed at me (worse thing he could have done).

I regained my composure, scurried to my feet, and began running, finding a rare pursuit gear. Did I mention I used to be extremely competitive? I don’t know if it was my humiliation, the bad guy’s giggle fit, or a combination of both, but it didn’t take long for me to close the gap and catch him. As I was placing the handcuffs on him, I thanked him for giving me the added incentive I needed to run him down.

There’s an old saying—I’m sure you’ve heard it, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It’s attributed to Joseph Kennedy, the father of former President John F. Kennedy, and then popularized by the Billy Ocean song.

A favorite Bible verse of mine has a similar message. It’s found in 2 Corinthians 12:9: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

As you well know, I love the whole “grace” concept. Not only is grace the unmerited favor of God, it’s also a divine empowering that allows us to do what we typically cannot accomplish on our own. Grace is among God’s greatest gifts. Grace leads us to salvation, and grace also helps us to overcome every human weakness.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, Titus 2:11-12

Regardless of personal failure or shortcoming, the grace of God is more than enough for each and every one of us! Grace reverses the dominance of sin, it overcomes the stronghold of fear, breaks the chain of addiction, initiates forgiveness, facilitates freedom, keeps us in step with the Spirit, and grace transforms us into the image and likeness of God. After all that’s how God made us—in His own image.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them. Genesis 1:27

In Colossians 3:9-10 (NKJV) Paul said, “…you have put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created you,”

You see, image is everything!