“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I have experienced many seemingly hopeless moments in my life. Some have been self-inflicted, and some have been circumstantial. The void that comes with both is unbearable.
As the new year rolls around, I reflect on all these memories – both good and bad. I remember the pain of loss – of friends, ideals, dreams and stability. I remember the tears – of joy, sorrow, renewal and deep, unrelenting wounds. I remember the hopelessness that made me want to end life again and again. I remember the defeat of trying to get better. I remember the struggle between body, mind and food. I remember the joy of conquering my deep-set desires little by little. I remember the satisfaction of a job well done. I remember the love that I am finally able to feel – from family, friends and God. I remember the taste of sweet, delicious victory and the defeat of another night lost. I remember wondering if I could ever cling to the promise of hope.
I remember my unbelief – in God, myself, others and freedom. I remember bitterly lashing out at God for the state of my life. I remember the lonely days – days in treatment, days in hospitals, days surrounded by love but unable to feel it. I remember the abandonment I felt from God – year after year.
And I remember the moments when I knew that God not only existed in the world, but in my life as well.
Yes, there have been many moments, many memories. And there will be many more. That is a guarantee.
There are many things I want to do in this new year. Things I want to accomplish, goals I want to set, memories I want to make. However, as I think on all the “to-do’s” the year will bring, my heart cries out for something more. Something that matters. A theme not only for this year, but for every year that you and I are on this earth. A rather unexpected theme. A two-word hope statement.
This phrase has the power to completely transform my life and the way I look at God. It is the single breath of hope that I long for. It translates into freedom.
Jesus overcoming means that I will overcome. It means that trials don’t have the power to steal my joy. It means instability does not have the right to steal my peace. It means losing does not disrupt my contentment. It means that seemingly hopeless situations do not diminish my hope. It means that though I may lose everything of importance to me in this life, I am not without. Jesus will remain. Steadfast. Strong. Sure.
Because He overcame, I can overcome in this life. By His power, I can overcome each and every temptation. I can overcome the familiar battle of food and weight. Because Jesus overcame the grave, I can overcome mine. I can overcome the desires that drag me down, the envy that rots my soul and relationships, and the depression that jumps in at any given moment. I can overcome the fears that seek to paralyze my life, the defeat of broken dreams, the frustrations of life and the uncertainties of the future. I can overcome because JESUS overcame.
As I reflect on years past, I see how He has enabled me to overcome. There have been many sweet, sweet victories. He has brought me so far and for that I am thankful. So as we start out this new year, remember that Jesus overcame. Remember where you’ve been and how far He has brought you. And remember – because He overcame, you overcome. Each and everyday.
If you doubt (as I have many times), remember that Jesus overcame the grave – ultimately, death. He can overcome even the smallest situation in your life – so expect it. Wait for it. Pray for it. Have others pray for it.
And as you wait, reflect and share on the things He has already overcome.