I John 5:4-5 (NLT)
For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Do you feel like you are stuck in a rut? Is your life a never-ending carousel that always stops in the same place? Do you constantly feel pulled in opposite directions – physically, emotionally and spiritually? Join the club. Situation after situation, circumstance after circumstance, problem after problem, bill after unexpected bill, and every other imaginable thing that keep popping up in our life. It is difficult to fell like victors when we are constantly falling victim to such opposition. Life is full of opposition. There will always be something or someone standing in the way of your progress. It is inevitable. Feeling better yet? Me either, but we will. For three years now, I have waited for, longed for, hoped for, prayed for, willed for our son to be healed and fully delivered from cancer. I am still waiting. He has had cancer five times from diagnosis to relapse after relapse to transplant. With medical bills skyrocketing over the million dollar mark between tests, exams, follow-ups, and hospitalizations I truly have a million-dollar man who has yet to make it six months without relapse. It is clear that the doctors do not know the right answer but they keep trying to save our son’s life. God knows the answer. He knows the exact date of his healing. He knows every single side effect that he will have and Jesus took a stripe for each one. God is not finished but I am ready to be done. I signed up for a sprint but found out that it’s a marathon. I like the smooth circular track that is clearly marked start and finish, but God prefers cross country trails that go up and down all around. I have been straining my eyes for the finish line to claim victory after all of this. God says, “Silly you have the victory!”
Life is a process. Victory is coming but it will never fully arrive until our Savior finally returns to end the wickedness, pain and despair of this world. Until then, I am stuck in the middle. In the middle of what? Both worlds, heaven and earth. I am a resident of Heaven who is a foreigner here. I do not reside here and am not of this world but must walk through it. All the way through it. To the very end of it. Throughout this entire process of cancer treatment and recovery and then to relapse, treatment and recovery – I keep waiting for the moment to run victory laps and shout – it’s over – we win! We win! When the insurance denied further treatment, I just knew that when they finally approved I would dance in the streets when I heard and run up and down the halls of wherever I was. I never doubted that God would come through for Him because of the peace that I have found but I have made a recent discovery. When the good news came each and every time, rather than running, shouting or screaming all I could do was breathe and thank Jesus because He did again. He defeated the world and that nasty thing called cancer. He approved us when the world kept rejecting us. He achieved victory for my life that is consistent in my life whether I believe it or not. Maybe I am stuck in the middle of this life for a reason. Each time He has proved His Promise I have cried. Not sobs necessarily – only that first night. You know the ones. They are tears of relief when faith accomplishes His Word in our life. I believe these are the tears that He catches and save turning them back into good. I believe this is productive sorrow which is what He is recording to perfect that which concerns me. We have overwhelming victory. His Name is Jesus. But where is our faith?
Mark 6:46-52 (NLT)
After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.
The disciples were stuck in the middle of a violent storm. They had rowed out on the lake and now were in serious trouble. They were rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. When Jesus approached on the water they were terrified and did not even recognize the Lord who they had been following so closely. His Intention was to continue to the other side. Now hang on a minute. His Closest Companions were in the middle of a storm, fighting for their life, struggling and exerting every ounce of energy just to survive. Obviously so overtaken with fear that they did not even recognize Jesus, and He was about to go right past them. Are you kidding me? But of course, Jesus just couldn’t do it and climbed in the boat quieting the storm. He told them, “Don’t be afraid” and “Take courage.” They were totally amazed. But hang on, this is the same group of people who watched Jesus turn a boy’s lunch into a feast. When the disciples wanted to send the people home to eat, Jesus told them to feed them. With what? What do you have? We have been given everything we needed. Christ has provided from Heaven’s resources to care for us. We lack not good thing. Because we believe in Who He is and What He accomplished on the Cross – we have the Keys to the Kingdom. This is all scriptural therefore true which means in our current state we have everything that we need to overcome every situation. Jesus wasn’t passing them by because He was mad at them, testing Him or didn’t care. He knew that by faith they could quiet the storm but rather than doing that they panicked. We keep looking for the finish line which will not come until we complete our process. Life is the process of discovering faith that because substantial enough to be our hope in every single situation big or small that we face in life. We must fall so in love with Jesus becoming totally dependent on Him so that we know Him. When we know Him, we have empowered our faith and it is now hope that we can hold on to when the storm rocks our boat. We can tell the wind and waves to be still knowing that they will soon calm down. We want the finish line. But we are not ready to cross it so we remain stuck in the middle.
Psalm 62:1-2 (NLT)
I wait quietly before God for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.
God is my victory. Yay, God but what about today? What about this problem? Where is my healing? When will I be delivered? I guess that may be up to you and I. God has ordered our steps and planned every one for our good and advancement. But until we have faith that connects our will with His Will – we are moving in very different directions. The world does not support such promotion and finds that it loathes it. Advancement of Christ hastens the end of this world and everything in it including sickness, pain, disease, defeat and despair. (John 15:19) Jesus didn’t pray for God to take us out of this world but to empower us to make it to the end of our faith process so we can have hope forever. (John 17:13-15) You are not getting out of anything – you are going through it, overcoming it and endurance is the key. Those who endure to the end will be saved. Again – His Words not mine. We are in a transformation process turning our thoughts to be like His Thoughts. We cannot live in agreement with the Kingdom in our own mindset. (Roman 12:1-2) God is changing my mind every day. He is renewing my thoughts and making them consistent with His Way of doing things. I submit them to Him each day to undergo this process. We are in the process of reconciling our life to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son as we learn to exercise our freedom while honoring right standing. (2 Corinthians 18-20) This doesn’t happen overnight and some seasons hasten the day but it is still a process of endurance. We are capturing our rebellious thoughts and giving them to Christ to set our mind, soul and body from bondage to sign seeking alignment with Jesus. We are in the middle of pursuing victory! We will know Him when He comes! It’s okay to shout along the way. It is strongly encouraged to rejoice in the Lord always even before you see His Plan because we know that all things work together for our good! That is what He thought the disciples knew in that boat in the middle of a storm and that is exactly what He wants you to discover stuck in the middle of your storm, too!
Romans 8:36-38 (NLT)
(As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
Smooth sailing never made a skilled sailor. Remember that today when your boat starts rocking. We are in the process of achieving overwhelming victory through Jesus Christ. Of course, hell and the world we live in will come against it. God is just working to fill our heart and life with His Love so we are confident that there is nothing that can separate us from it. That is called faith. We live in constant pursuit of that love because we know it is real and for us – that is called hope. We may be stuck in the middle today but nothing will ever take us from this place because we are stuck in the middle of His Love! Celebrate victory today! It belongs to you!
Romans 5:1-5 (NLT)
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.