Either overcome, or be overcome
“I have told you these things, so that in Me (a fixed place) you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” John 16:33
In the world, trouble, trials, distress.
In ME, peace, confidence, cheer.
As I watched the families at Joni&Friends camp affected by disability and listened to their stories, I was struck by the magnitude of what the Lord had entrusted to them. They had health challenges, social challenges, marital challenges (8 out of 10 marriages in families affected by disability don’t thrive or survive) and giants of many sizes on many fronts. How do they keep going, Lord? “I have given them an overcoming Spirit – and also things to overcome to reveal Him and produce My undaunted peace in the midst of the distress.” Some were entrusted with many things to overcome, and through them discovered the love and strength of the Overcomer of all. Through Him, every small inch of progress is something to be celebrated. In Him, nothing is taken for granted.
As I marveled at these often unnoticed heroes, our own troubles didn’t feel as weighty.
There is something encouraging about being around others who can identify with challenges, sharing in a common language, partaking in a fellowship like no other. No one is exempt and all of God’s children have been entrusted with challenges much larger than ourselves, packaged in various “boxes” and wrapping, but each very real. We have been providentially entrusted with challenging opportunities to see God at work. Opportunities to identify with others we normally wouldn’t understand. Opportunities to partake deeper in the peace we can only find in Him. Opportunities to overcome. And opportunities to share it with others, so they, too, can overcome rather than be overcome by despair and discouragement or by the voice of the tempter and accuser of God seeking to disparage His divine and mysterious purpose in all of this. We either are overcome by them or we overcome them through the Word, the Spirit, and His faithfulness revealed in the testimony He’s given to us. Daily we are entrusted with the power to influence many – either in a positive way or a negative way.
Everyone faces a battle of some sort, Lord. Giants that threaten to shake or undo or overcome us. Giant threats – but no power. Thank You for the Overcoming Spirit. Thank You that You have overcome the world and deprived it of power and have conquered it for us. Help us to live in the victory of Your precious work, and reveal Your glory. Help us to embrace the gift of Your peace and confidence.