No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:38
Dressed in my brand new candy cane striped pants with a cotton pink sparkled sweater, I held my head high and walked down the long aisle to the front of the church where the junior choir was practicing. I was told that you had to be nine years old to join the choir and I had just celebrated my ninth birthday. I loved to sing and had been counting the days until I could finally participate in this exciting opportunity. I wondered how long it would take to learn the songs before I could be fitted for a robe and sit in the choir loft on a Sunday morning. My hopes and dreams were dashed when the choir director turned around and shouted “What do you think you are doing here?”
I assertively replied, “ I remembered you told me I could join the choir when I turned nine and I just had my birthday last month!”
“I said no such thing! This choir is open only to those in fourth grade and above.” She snapped back.
All confidence shriveled out of me as I choked on a quick response and immediately left. I didn’t make it out of the church before the tears spilled down my cheeks and the sobs cried out. I couldn’t go home. I told everyone that I would be singing in the choir this Sunday. I was hurt, angry and confused. This would not be my first defeat, and it is very insignificant in comparisons to some the lessons I have learned throughout my life, but I remember the hurt and discouragement I felt. I could have decided never to join the choir because of this experience, but I didn’t. I licked my wounds, swallowed my pride and patiently waited for the next opportunity, determined to demonstrate my enthusiasm and talent!
Some of the most heartbreaking moments I witnessed as a mom were watching my children experience rejection or defeat in their lives. Both were active in sports, so there were many competitive playoffs when the score would be tied, leading into a nail-biting overtime, only to lose by a split-second goal! No matter how the game was lost, the reaction to the defeat ran the spectrum of anger to tears. Then there were the defeats experienced when they tried out for a desired opportunity or interviewed for a favorite position. As a mom, I could not protect them from the excruciating feeling of rejection, although I tried my best to comfort with nurturing words and attempt to distract them with favorite foods.
Defeat destroys a dream, shatters expectations and redirects us onto a new path. We have the choice to let the defeat crush our spirits, deplete our energies and completely derail our future. How do we respond to these events? Do we mourn the loss, lick our wounds, learn from the experience and gather the strength to persevere through the next steps? Or do we allow anger, hurt and rejection to dominate our perspective, stagnate our efforts and completely derail our goals?
There are many stories of defeat in the Bible, Jesus being the most obvious after meditating on the Holy week events with his crucifixion and death. Not only did Jesus experience defeat, but his followers felt forsaken and lost as well. But we know the end of the story. Jesus’ glorious resurrection brought the victorious hope of new life to all who believe in Him. In spite of this victory, the powers of opposition are still alive and working today to cause doubt and discouragement in His believers.
How have you allowed defeat to distract you? How do you overcome negative forces and conquer debilitating setbacks and rejection? The encouraging words from the Letter to the Romans highlight the greatest victory over the discouragement of defeat. You are a conqueror! Romans 8 31-39 NIV
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 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 more 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.
Lord Jesus, When I am in the midst of defeat, I feel like I am surrounded by discouragement and find it difficult to see the light of victory or even the next steps to take, But Your word reminds me that I am a conqueror! You intercede for my needs and your plan prevails with my submission. Nothing, nothing can separate me from the power of your love. Amen.