December 4, 2018
“Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5, NIV 1984).
I was surprised to see his name on the schedule, as he had completed his therapy a few years ago. However, in spite of chemotherapy and radiation, his cancer had recently returned and required a laryngectomy. I was seeing him for the first time after this surgery—complicated by a stroke and a pulmonary embolus. He was not the same proud man I remembered. My first words to him were, “I am so sorry you have had such suffering with your stroke and with your voice gone. Can you overcome all of this?” He looked me in the eyes, then looked to my lapel, touched the gold cross pinned there and nodded with assurance.
Are you an overcomer?
I certainly am not by my own strength. I have fallen and failed so many times that my face is imprinted with the cracks of the pavement.
But there are times in my life where I have clearly overcome. There are times where I have been weighed down by sin or buried beneath the weight of worry and then have risen from my brokenness and thrived. I overcame in those circumstances, not by my own will power, not because of “my unconquerable soul,” not because I was the “master of my fate” as it says in Invictus by William Ernest Henley.
I overcame in those moments because I, like my patient with no voice of his own, pointed to the cross—the greatest symbol and the greatest event of overcoming in history. Because of that cross, I can overcome with His power, not mine. For His outcomes, not mine.
As Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (BSB).
Or, as Need to Breathe sings the truth:
Though I falter
You got me walking on water
So, as I walk this life through flowers or through fire, I will be pointing to the cross, and I will overcome all that the world throws at me…and surrender to my King.
Without you, I am often a broken blade of grass. But in the cross, I “soar on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV 1984).