Life is full of disappointments and hardships.
It just is. No matter how well you and I try to live this life, we won’t escape tragedy, hard times, and disappointments. It’s a certainty.
So many of us are experiencing those things right now. We didn’t get into our dream college; we didn’t get the job we applied for; we didn’t get the promotion we were up for; we are struggling with infertility, we are struggling with financial problems, we are struggling with singleness and loneliness, we are struggling with a difficult marriage. We are struggling.
But you and I have a choice. We don’t get to choose whether or not we experience hardships, but we do get to choose how we respond. And, unfortunately, a lot of us are responding like victims. We are hurt, sad, and angry with God. We feel like He’s let us down. Like He’s not keeping up His end of the deal. He’s absent. Not taking care of us. Not answering our prayers.
Romans 8:28-39 says this: (bold words are obviously my emphasis)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (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. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you skimmed over that because you already “know” that passage. Go back. Read it slowly. Read it carefully. Read it out loud. Read it multiple times. I beg you.
Y’all. We are freaking VICTORS. Not VICTIMS.
Paul says, “Overwhelming victory is ours!” Many other translations say ” we are more than conquerors.” More than!
We are CONQUERORS. Not VICTIMS.
Now does that mean our hardship, our financial problems, our relationship-status issues, are just going to go away? That God is going to answer our prayer and give us whatever we want? Obviously not. You and I have enough life experience that proves that.
I love verse 32: Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?
Of course this doesn’t mean He’ll give us whatever we want or ask for. Thank God he doesn’t! I can think of so many prayers I begged God to answer with “yes” in the last 10 years, that today I am overwhelming grateful that He said “no.” I prayed to get into my #1 graduate school choice where I was waitlisted; I prayed for multiple jobs and promotions that I never got; I prayed for multiple dating relationships to turn into marriage. If He had given me what I wanted in any of those situations, I would not be who I am, where I am, or have the husband, family, or friends that I have today.
Thank GOD for unanswered prayers. Am I right? (And thank you Garth Brooks, Pat Alger and Larry Bastian for giving us that song)
Now you can keep looking at your hardship with a victim mentality. That’s up to you. But if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a victor, not a victim.
- He chose you.
- He called you.
- He wiped all your sins away so that you can stand before Him and know Him personally.
- He gave you HIS GLORY.
- He is for you.
- He sacrificed His Son in your place, so that you don’t have to suffer the consequences of your sin.
- He will give you everything you need. (not want, but need)
- Jesus sits next to the Father and pleads on your behalf.
- Nothing (and no one, not even you) will ever separate you from His Love.
- And you are more than a conqueror over all hardships and tragedy, because of Him, because of all of those bullets listed above.
You are not a victim.
And if you’re still with me, and I can make one final thought, it’s this: It seems that many times when we respond to our life circumstances as a victim, it’s because we’re comparing ourselves to other people around us who are experiencing “success” where we aren’t.
Someone else’s success, doesn’t actually impact your situation. I don’t know why we think it does.
Your friend getting into her dream school, had no influence on you not getting into yours. Your friend getting the dream job, also no influence on you not getting yours. Your friend experiencing financial gain or fertility, also no influence on you not.
God owns it all.
He owns all the money, all the jobs, all the circumstances, all the success, all the babies, all of it. He can give whatever He wants to whoever He wants. And He can choose to not give. There is no scarcity in God’s economy. Only surplus.
We are not victims. We are victors, more than conquerors because of our Heavenly Father who lavishes us with love and grace and glory. I’m not trying to downplay your hardship. This life sucks sometimes.
But you and I have a choice. We can respond to life’s hardships as victims or victors. I don’t know about you, but I know how I want to choose.