Make a Comeback
Everyone loves to see the underdog make a comeback and win, don’t they? Whether it is an unknown soccer team from the lowest division winning the league, or a tiny country from the back side of the globe grabbing gold at the Olympics, something about this warms the heart. We can all relate to that feeling of elation and relief when an insurmountable obstacle has been overcome.
The determination to overcome—the will to live, the desire to succeed and press on, and the sheer stubbornness to prove life wrong when it says you can’t—is in us all. Science may refer to this as the laws of nature or natural selection, but humankind has something distinctly different on its side that nature does not account for: faith. By faith, we overcome the world (1 John 5:4, Phil 4:13).
When I became a follower of Jesus, I was not wholly prepared for the challenges that were ahead of me. Life until that point had been a series of obstacles emotionally, physically and spiritually. There were several Goliaths that I had learned to live with and which the Lord would show me needed to be slain. This process was not a comfortable one, as He began to gently show me the parts of my heart that were broken, that felt more painful before they felt better. Today though, I can see that killing those giants was essential, and it has changed how I now approach life’s challenges and disappointments.
Overcoming the World
Jesus did not promise us that we would not face problems in this life—quite the opposite! But he gave us the solution to overcome them:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
— John 16:33
This came from a man who knew the enormity of the challenge ahead of Him. He knew of the persecution, the torture and torment, the pain that was to come when He said these words, but He was not focused on those things. He was looking to the victory that lay beyond that situation. The difference was, Jesus was viewing life from the other side of the cross. Jesus is the ultimate comeback King!
There are two keys that the Lord showed me that I remember anytime life presents me with opportunity to get into the flesh. These have helped me keep focused on the finish line, rather than the hurdle ahead, and to trust God to deliver me in the midst of adversity. Ultimately, these two keys have set me back on track when I needed help to overcome.
Keys to Make a Comeback:
1. Three days changes everything.
Jesus was celebrated, paraded as a king through the streets on a donkey, and honored. Yet this was short-lived, because soon after, He was crucified. Our confidence has to be in God alone, not in the circumstances or even in those around us. People fail, even with the best intentions, but God is always on our side. At the crucifixion, it looked like all was lost and the devil had won. But three days later, Jesus rose from the dead and changed the course of history forever!
Whatever the situation, however bad it looks today, wait three days and it will look different. Responding hastily, out of reflex or fear, often causes us a bigger mess. Time helps us see things in perspective. It allows us to refocus on the Lord and hear Him above the noise. All the while, the Lord is intervening on our behalf. I have seen situations that appeared hopeless completely turn around as I took time to seek God rather than respond in the flesh!
2. He is big enough to handle our emotions.
In times of tragedy, betrayal, confusion, helplessness, or just pure emotion, we do not think clearly. Our decisions are not always the best ones as we struggle to be objective. In those moments of whirling thoughts, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter. He is our voice of reason, our guide, our protection, and our best friend. He alone can heal broken hearts, show us how to love our enemies and what forgiveness really looks like. But we have to participate. Ultimately, we are the ones who hurt the most when we hold on to hurt, anger, pain, and unforgiveness—not the person who wronged us. These things become like a cancer in our bodies and will spread to other areas of life if we don’t deal with them. So how do we deal with these feelings? How do we stop feeling them?
This is what works for me: I see a box, and in it I place all of the emotion—the thoughts, the confusion, the drama, the whole situation—in that box. I close the lid, and address it to Jesus. In my mind, I mail it. I ask to Holy Spirit to be my comforter, and I place my trust in Him. This is casting my cares upon the Lord! If at any time I begin to dwell on those thoughts, and start to feel that hurt rising up inside of me again, or fear creeping back, I picture that box again. I remember that those feelings are no longer mine to deal with; I already gave them to Jesus, so I’m not taking them back!
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Jesus is the original comeback King, and He lives in us. Jesus in us is greater than any defeat; He always leads us to victory and causes us to triumph. Be encouraged today that you have everything you need inside of you to be who He called you to be. And if that devil tries to send any of his junk your way, just label it “return to sender”!