By Vince Antonucci
Life often presents us with discouraging circumstances where victory seems anything but possible. We are quick to become disparaged by all we see around us. And yet we are slow to remember that God has promised us an eternal victory. Let me share with you a story:
It’s Spring of 2008. I’m sitting at the gate of the Norfolk airport. In front of me is a big flat-screen TV. It’s showing golf, but immediately I realize something is up. Tiger Woods is playing, but I know he’s out for the year due to an injury, so he can’t be playing.
A few minutes later, the broadcast breaks away from the golfing action. An announcer steps in and explains a re-airing of the infamous 2000 PGA Championship. I thought to myself, “Well, that explains why Tiger Woods is playing and why he looks so much younger. What they’re showing is from eight years ago.”
Knowing The Outcome
I figured I would get my computer out and get some work done. Meanwhile, a guy comes huffing up to the gate as he realizes our delayed flight. He plops down in the seat next to me and starts watching golf.
I turn back to my computer to finish writing, but I’m interrupted by a loud groan from the guy that just sat beside me. I look up at the TV in time to see that Tiger Woods missed his putt. The guy beside me is not happy about the missed putt and becomes completely out of sorts.
I go back to writing. “Oh crap!” the guy beside me yells. I looked up at the TV to see Tiger Woods miss the fairway with his drive. At this point, I totally know I should tell him that this golf tournament was from eight years ago, but I can’t. His dramatic reactions were too funny.
The guy beside me becomes so nervous that he’s gasping and groaning with every stroke. I’m trying real hard to keep it together and not burst out laughing. It’s hysterical. This guy is hanging by a thread over an outcome that has already been decided.
Somehow, he’s completely present but unaware that everyone already knows who wins. We already know that Tiger will battle it out with Bob May. They will have a three-hole playoff and May will miss a forty-foot birdie putt. Woods will blast out of a bunker and within two feet, make the easy putt for par to win on the final hole.
The guy beside me has nothing to worry about. He doesn’t need to waste his mental energy by getting upset over missed shots. Not when the outcome has already occurred. Tiger Woods wins the tournament and this guy has no clue that he can relax.
I know the right thing is to tell him, but at this point, there’s no way I’m going to do it. In fact, I started praying that the flight would get delayed even longer so I could see this play out.
Victory Belongs To God
It seems like most of us are stressed out with circumstances that seem unbearable. Is this because we feel like we are losing? Is there a place in your life where you feel discouraged or doubtful?
- Your marriage is hard and doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
- You have kids who seem to be walking in the wrong direction.
- You’ve been stuck in the same job, or even no job, for a long time and you’ve lost hope for advancement or change.
- There’s a self-destructive habit you keep doing even though you don’t want to do it. You can’t seem to change.
The world is bad and it’s getting worse. It seems like we lose any sense of godliness we may have once had on a daily basis.
It’s easy to find ourselves discouraged because there seems to be a lot of evidence that we’re losing. And so I come with good news: God is victorious. In fact, God IS victory.
If you’re in the habit of reading the Bible, you may have noticed the word “victory” appearing, often. In fact, the word, “victory” is in the Bible well over a hundred times. About every time, it refers to God being victorious, or God giving victory.
If you haven’t gotten through the whole Bible yet, here’s what you need to know. From the first page to the last, victory belongs to God.
Whose Side Is God On?
Sometimes people talk about “wanting God on their side,” but I’m pretty sure God doesn’t join sides. God has His own side, and He invites us to join Him. We see that all through the Bible. In fact, God seems to take great joy in giving victory to His people. Especially when the odds seem completely stacked against them.
One of my favorite examples is in Judges, chapter 6 when God chooses a guy named Gideon to lead his army into battle.
Of all God’s people, Gideon appears to be the most afraid of the Midianites. He seems to be the worst choice. Even worse, Gideon’s army of 32,000 men is vastly outnumbered by the enemy Midianites army. Victory seems impossible.
Then it gets worse.
God speaks to Gideon, saying, “You have too many men for me to deliver the Midian into your hands.” If I’m Gideon I’m thinking God misspoke. “God…did you say ‘too many,’ when you meant, ‘too few?’” But God meant what he said, and has Gideon discharge anyone who’s afraid.
Gideon loses two-thirds of his army and now he’s down 10,000 men.
When Defeat Seems Certain
God continued to say, “There are still too many men.” God devises a test to get rid of even more of Gideon’s soldiers. This reduces Gideon’s army to 300 men.
Defeat is certain.
God then tells Gideon to attack the Midianites with trumpets blaring. Gideon must be skeptical that 300 men and their doubtful leader could come into the battle, announce their presence and actually win?
Reading the story you have to wonder: Why did God do it that way?
God tells Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let everyone fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength” (Judges 7:2).
Victory belongs to God, and so the question becomes: Do you belong to God?
God wants it to be clear that the Israelites didn’t win the victory. No, victory belongs to God, and when we belong to God, He shares His victory with us. God had a side. They were just lucky to be on it. So, are you on God’s side? Victory belongs to God. Do you belong to God?
Victorious In The End
Knowing a God who is victory, better yet, belonging to a God who is victory, changes our future. We don’t have to be like the guy beside me at the airport.
It’s not productive to experience stress and nervousness about life. Why? Because we know what happens. The outcome has already been decided. The God who is victory will be victorious. The God who always wins will win. If we are on God’s side, we will join Him in His victory. We will win.
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