This past Sunday, we sang “Overcome” (by Desperation Band, a 2006 or 7 release, I think) and it led to a time of people sharing words and one testimony in particular. The bridge of the song goes like this: And we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Everyone overcome.
It got me thinking about trials, and it got me thinking about this very issue of overcoming. The skeptic in me arose, and I began to find myself testing the steel of that statement – “we will overcome.”
What if we don’t overcome what we think we’ll overcome?
That is, what if someone loses their battle with cancer when for months they and everyone around them has prayed for healing?
What if someone fought for their marriage and their spouse didn’t reciprocate the vigor, and the marriage fell apart?
What if someone fighting for financial stability didn’t get the new job they’d been hoping for?
What if someone doesn’t receive their funding to go on a mission trip?
What if life doesn’t make sense? What if it doesn’t all pan out the way we think it will? Are we still then overcomers?
The answer is yes. I think that the key to this question lies in realizing what exactly it is that we’re overcoming. The Bible speaks very clearly about the fact that we will face troubles. Jesus said that in this life we will have trouble, but we can take heart because He has overcome the world.
I can’t help but think that when Jesus said that, He’s trying to get us to expand our horizons a little bit and see beyond the immediate. Maybe that sounds callous when dealing with tough issues like cancer, broken relationships, jobs, dreams, etc. But the reality is that the battle that Jesus won was for our soul.
This means that regardless of what happens in the arenas of work, relationships, and physical health, the battle for our soul has been won. It means that Satan is going to try to attack those arenas to ultimately test your faith and give up in the sovereignty of God. Follow this train of thought with me…
If I’m struggling to make ends meet, Satan will come in and try to convince me that God is disinterested and unable to help meet my needs. If I begin to believe that and find that despite my attempts, I can’t get a new job that better pays the bills, then I reinforce that belief that God isn’t interested in taking care of me. If God can’t even help me pay my bills, then why is God even interested in my soul? The Cross is irrelevant because God doesn’t love me.
If God doesn’t heal my friend/family member/me, then He must not really care. If He doesn’t care about my physical health, He doesn’t care about anything else, either. The Cross is irrelevant, and God doesn’t love me.
If God doesn’t help me realize my dreams and aspirations, then God must not love me personally. The Cross is irrelevant, and God doesn’t love me.
I’m convinced that every attack that the enemy brings is an attempt to undermine our belief that God loves us. Because if we can be convinced that God doesn’t love us, then we can be convinced that the Gospel is bunk, and believing the Gospel is the way to salvation. So to go if-then with this, we could say that if we can be convinced that God doesn’t love us, then Satan has stolen another soul from the Kingdom of God and subjected it to torment in hell.
Is that simplistic? Maybe.
But my point is that it’s easy to think that the battles we face – sickness, joblessness, financial depravity, relationship strains, etc – are the ultimate battle. But they’re not, because Jesus already won the ultimate battle – the battle for our soul. In the world, there still exists sin, folly, and rebellion, so bad things happen. People get sick. Relationships can break and be strained. Money can be hard to come by. But our rest can come from the truth that Jesus won the ultimate battle for us, and despite the best efforts of the enemy, the gates of hell can’t prevail against Jesus’ church, which is built on the truth that Jesus is the Christ – the messiah, the liberator of mankind. Whatever happens, when we believe the Gospel, we can know that we will live eternally (that is, now and beyond physical death,) with God, as it was always supposed to be.