I like to watch catastrophe movies. You know – earthquakes, tornados, sun explosions – movies where stuff blows up, but then people overcome. I watch a whole movie to see them standing together looking into the sunset knowing there is going to be another day, and they are together, and they have overcome.
What does it mean to overcome? Why is it so appealing to the human soul? Oxford Languages defines it as “succeeding in dealing with (a problem or difficulty). It’s different than succeeding in business, because there may be no other reward except knowing we have stood together, and the battle has been won. No money changes hands, but there is sweet relief.
Catastrophe comes in many different packages. Sometimes physical, sometimes political, sometimes emotional. We had a ripping storm here early this summer, and had what I believe to be a microburst on the property next to ours. We were on the back porch watching the amazing storm roll through when it hit. I have never seen so much debris thrown into the air at once. It came at us in a huge wave, mowing down foliage and small trees in seconds, and it took 2 days to clean up the mess. When I finished the yard work, I felt relieved, and things looked better than they had before the storm hit us. There wasn’t time to pray for deliverance, but overcoming the damage the storm caused left me feeling victorious…and tired.
Emotional catastrophes can take a lot longer to endure, and to overcome. In the middle, there is only faith. Sure, we know things just aren’t right. Sure we can complain (let’s be honest – we complain), seek counsel, shelter ourselves with friends and love, but it isn’t over until it’s over. Catastrophe somehow becomes a breathing organism with a cattle prod with our name on it. Faith gets us through with a sense of victory, rather than just exhaustion from the overcoming. For Christians, there is a sense of calm in the storm that does not deny the storm, but embraces a victory that has not yet arrived, and maybe cannot be seen. We can do that because we have seen God deliver us before, from the moment of our salvation. Our memories of God’s goodness sustain us as we wait for His Purposes to be fulfilled. And we know, because we know how the “story” ends, that God is going to kick evil’s butt. And we know that we get to see it happen, and maybe even participate – to roll up our sleeves and overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21) Many times those who don’t know Jesus see us as complacent, or weak, because they don’t know how faith sustains us, and are unfamiliar with waiting on an unseen purpose, or answer. Sometimes, we even have to remind one another, when the battle is raging. Waiting on God is part of overcoming, and deliverance.
Psalm 116: 1-14: I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary (naïve); when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”; in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.” What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
As we wait, we must lovingly remind ourselves and each other that if God is an overcomer, then God’s people will also overcome. It might not look how we think it must be, but God will overcome. Instead of worrying about whether or not He will overcome, we should worry about whether we are helping or hindering God’s Plan. Our fate, after all, is to work together with God for His Purposes. In the meantime, storms will rage. But, we are not alone, or abandoned, EVER.
Romans 8:35-39: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long’ we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are m ore than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Stand with me, ye overcomers!
August 7, 2021