We’re all looking for a win right about now. Our country is divided in many ways, but united in feeling defeated. When will we beat this virus? Who will win the election? Will smoldering cities across the U.S. see peace anytime soon?
Frankly, it’s not only what 2020 has thrown at us, defeat was a constant companion before this year. Maybe it’s a war-torn childhood; a dream marriage that has turned into a living nightmare; or racked up failures and disappointments that would keep anyone from stepping on the field again — defeat has always been a close companion in this fallen world.
However, as I was pondering victory in what feels like a season of defeat, I was flooded with examples of victory – the kind of winning that yields eternal prizes. The gracious truth is, God has no intention of leaving us in a wasteland. He clothed Himself in flesh and left Heaven for a holy rescue mission 2000 years ago and hasn’t stopped since.
Without going too far down of the list of people I interact with regularly, I found story after story of victory from the ashes of defeat:
One of my dear friends was sexually abused throughout her teen years by a trusted leader in the community. After years of living in the ruins of the destruction that followed the abuse, my friend allowed Jesus to come and heal her wounds. Not only does she walk in redemption, but she introduces other women hurt by abuse and trauma to the One who heals. Victory
I have another dear friend who chose abortion when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy in her youth. After going through counseling and understanding God is not mad at her, but loves her dearly, she lives in the promise of His forgiveness and grace. She also gives her time and energy to an organization called YoungLives that comes alongside teen moms who have chosen to raise their babies. Victory
Another friend experienced the horrors of sex-trafficking when his sister was trafficked for years before being rescued. He is spending his life not only raising awareness of sex-trafficking, but also running rescue missions for those caught in this evil trade. That friend is meeting with the White House as I write these words. Victory
Then there’s my friend who grew up with an absent, untrustworthy father. He walked through adolescence without guidance or wisdom passed down from the man charged with raising him. Instead, God put other faithful men in his path who helped mold him into the warrior he became. This friend now pours into the lives of young men who need fatherly advice and encouragement. Victory
A food blogger that helps me make healthy meals for my family used to be ruled by disordered eating. It’s ironic to think about the person I consult to feed my family in a healthy way, used to have such an unhealthy relationship with food and her own body – but that’s the God we’re dealing with . Victory
Even in my own life (in more ways than I can count) the Lord has brought redemption in places marked for ruin. I grew up in an awesome immediate family, but some of my extended family members were examples of exactly what not to do to live a fruitful life. My older cousins were often in trouble in ways that my parents had to try to explain to my too-young-to-be-discussing-this ears. Flash forward to today, and my children are the older cousins, a position that I don’t take lightly. My teen/tween kids are not perfect, but they are trustworthy and careful with their younger cousins and our young family friends. They are protectors and want to be good examples for the little eyes watching their every move. I tear up every time I see it on display. I didn’t even ask the Lord to redeem this part of my story, but He did it anyway. Victory
In this season that wreaks of defeat, I look around and see victory upon victory. Maybe not the roaring crowds and medal-on-a-podium wins, but make no mistake, they are cheering in the heavenlies. Each person above was targeted by Satan and he banked on using trauma to side-line their lives. Instead, our God redeemed and used what was slated for evil for good. Add to that, each person above is using what once hurt them to bring healing and restoration to others.
Perhaps you read the examples above and thought about the defeat in your own life, but you can’t claim “Victory”. May I boldly make a suggestion? Lay that defeat – whatever it is – at the feet of Jesus. Maybe it’s something that was done to you, a hurt caused by someone else’s poor choices, a loss you can’t get past, or maybe it was something you did. Whatever it is, lay it at the feet of Jesus. He knows you’re hurting. Ask Him to come into that hurt and ask Him what Victory would look like for you. Then allow Jesus to do what He does.
Jesus told us in this world we would have trouble – but He did not tell us to make agreements with the trouble. Instead, He finished that proclamation with, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, emphasis mine). We don’t have to make agreements with the defeat, disappointments, hurts, misery or mistakes that come with living in a fallen world. We serve a God of redemption, healing, forgiveness and victory.
It’s easy to feel defeated in this fallen world. However, we don’t just have the playbook, we have the final score. We know victory is assured. We know every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). We are promised that He will wipe away every tear, there will be no more death, mourning or pain when the old order of things passes away (Revelation 21:4).
Dear Lord, we thank You for every victory. You wrote victory on our hearts in Eden and You promised it to us when You make all things new. In the meantime, as we journey in this foreign place, let us walk in Your victory. May we never settle for defeat when You have promised Your children life to the full (John 10:10). Give us a victor – not a victim – mentality as we live out our Earthly assignments. Lord, we love You and praise Your holy name. Amen.