Saturday, March 27, 2010

Victory

I was listening to the radio today while I was driving and the DJ on the air was having people call in and share their "victories." I don't know if this is their regular Saturday afternoon programming or not, but I guess it is a fairly standard part of Christian radio. Let's face it, we all enjoy hearing a good "God answers prayer" or "Here is how it all worked out as planned or better than planned" story.

The story I heard was a wonderful story about how this lady's child had been seriously ill and undergone a dramatic treatment and was now doing amazingly well. Of course they are happy and thrilled and we all have reason to rejoice with them. The DJ praised God with them and pronounced it a victory .

But sometimes I wonder why it seems that all the call in stories happen to be cases where everything work out for what we consider "our good"; the kind of endings that people would be crazy not to want to have happen. I would think that it could make a person feel terribly lonely and perhaps abandoned by God to think that the only good things from God are the obvious "shout from the rooftops" kind of victories.

I think about so many of the songs that are played on the radio frequently like "I'll Praise you in this Storm" or "In Your Hands" and what the victory is in those songs and those like them. I think the victory is that a person can still praise God for the storm that they are going through or that they can feel God's presence and know that He is sovereign in their situation. The victory might be that they woke up that morning and were able to walk through another day, that they were able to pray just as they had been for 20 years for their husband's salvation, or that they were able to see God's provision is there even when it isn't the provision they would choose.

It is easy to only see victory in what we would always choose and the way in which we would choose it...health over sickness, life over death, money over financial difficulties, having all we want over our needs met. The world is pretty clear to what is considered the good life; in fact, well-known preachers proclaim it from the pulpit. If you have enough faith and pray hard enough, or even just believe it will be so, then what you desire will be yours because that is what God wants you to have. The truth is that we are promised suffering and that God's ways are not our ways and part of dying to self is setting aside our ways and submitting ourselves to God's ways and trusting him to carry us through and bring us right where He wants us even if that means that our child isn't healed, we don't see our husband saved, or we go from financial hardship to financial hardship. The victory may be that we can submit ourselves to the will of the Father and in doing so see the good in the difficult situation and experience joy where there seems to be none. Then perhaps we can encourage and comfort others with the hope and knowledge that true victory is all in the cross.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Rachel. I totally agree. That is one of my issues when someone speaks of something wonderful and everyone says, "God is SO good." They never say that when something bad happens. But He is STILL JUST AS GOOD! I don't know...just irritates me. I must make sure though, that I am an example of this and not judge others when I can't do it myself. It's so easy for me to point the finger at others.

Beth in NC

Stacy said...

Well said! What we see as 'good' is not always what God sees as 'good'.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Rachel. That is so true!

Rachel Baker

Marian said...

Well said.

Jennifer said...

You hit the nail on the head of what God has been teaching us for the last 6 years...and oh, what hard lessons those are to learn sometimes. "God is good, ALL the time." I'm reading a book right now in which the author says (paraphrasing here, but it's close :)), "It's one thing to praise God when the storm is over; it's a totally different thing to praise Him in the middle of the storm when you are still waiting to see what is going to happen." THAT is victory! And I want to praise Him in the middle!

Sharon said...

I completely agree.

Kelly said...

Great post and one I really needed to read tonight. Thanks, Rachel!

~ Lisa said...

Wow... thanks for sharing that Rachel.

Nan said...

Amen Rachel! Amen.

Just yesterday I was reading Isaiah 40:31 and contemplating "soar on wings like eagles." I had always thought of this as being a point that we reach after a great workout to achieve such a height. But only yesterday I realized that soaring is when a bird's wings are outstretched and it is essentially resting on the wind. Trusting that the wind will uphold it. The soaring, the victory, is the dependency upon something outside of themselves... something besides the frantic beating of wings. Thank you for being so open and vulnerable about your struggles and victories in the valleys.