First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

In the face of defeat.

February 17, 2016

Setbacks are a common problem. We all experience painful hardships and wonder why. Why did this happen to me? What have I done to anger God? Is there something I'm missing here? Will my life ever return to some sort of normal? Why can't all my days be filled with sunshine and furry little ponies?

Losing is part of life. It is intrinsically woven throughout the events of our existence. Darkness looms and has the potential to swallow us alive. We may shrink in the face of this menacing adversary and begin to believe the vicious lies of Satan. You and I have heard his hissing voice. Satan might be saying, "You are lost, you can't win, why don't you stop trying, why doesn't your precious Jesus come and save you."  Remember, he is 'the father of lies'.

    Funny thing about defeats is found in a surprising place. On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross. It was the Roman execution tool of choice. While the soldiers carried out the task of crucifixion it should be noted that Jesus willing laid down His life on that hideous dead tree.

 

        "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to

        lay down our lives for our brothers." (1 John 3:16, NIV)

Did you catch that?  Love beats down darkness, pain, suffering, and all of Satan's lies.  The defining characteristic in resounding defeat for followers of Jesus is found beyond the violent cross. Jesus stands for all eternity as the epitome of victory over defeat. What looked to all as the end of the story that day on a hill far away was simply the precursor to an event that would shake the world (Literally and spiritually). TWICE!

        "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth

        shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had

        died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went

        into the holy city and appeared to many people." (Matthew 27:51-53, NIV)

Imagine what this scene looked like. Those who had suffered defeat and were dead and buried are now walking around the city for all to see.  Wait for it.  Wait for it......

Another shaking would occur three days later and an empty tomb would shout a clarion call to humanity that God always has the final say to Satan's hissing lies.

        "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other

        Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord

        came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it."

        (Matthew 28:1-2, NIV)

Today, if you are trudging through yet one more defeat that prompts you to want to throw in the towel, stop to consider the gift of waiting in faith. I know this sounds easier said than done. You're right it is easier said than done. 

      Here is an exercise for you. Look intently at the image above and note the gloominess of the cross, the draped arms of the crossbeam, and the awfulness of the crown.  Do you see it?  Look closer. Do you see it now? Still can't see it?   In the darkness of the cross image is a looming glorious hope of Jesus Christ coming alive out of the tomb and ascending to heaven as our King of kings and Lord of lords. Now can you see it?

      Your latest defeat, as painful as it is, is held carefully in the hand of one who understands defeat and pain. He treasures you're situation and can provide victory for you.   Look up and see the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Your present defeat is temporary.

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