This morning I awoke to two notable things. The first was the headline on mIphone of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors record-setting 73rd regular season win. The other, in my morning devotional, were the lines from Tony Evans’ book, The Power of God’s Names (in Men of Integrity): “…He will provide a way for you to experience victory in your life,” and “…resurrections in their hopeless situations.” Such things are how God talks to us.
The rest of this blog post wrote itself, as if by God’s hands. So to speak. Some things are that easy. As easy as 73 wins (in hindsight, of course.)
I don’t follow basketball, really. (I grew up in Boston and the Celtics were always winning.) I prefer the agony of questionable success, aka football’s New England Patriots, whose history has much more closely matched my own. My own interpretation of victory, I suppose I should say. If I loosely divide my life into Before and After God’s Saving Grace, I was first a doormat, like the Pats; but after, I’ve experienced incredible victory – not in a purely worldly sense, but in becoming familiar with the peace that surpasses all things. Peace and contentment with what I have. Joy over the miracles I’ve experienced. Humble wisdom from the bitter lessons I’ve been taught. Winning via freedom from compulsive and uncontrolled behaviors, worry, rage, and doubt (to some extent – I think we all experience some doubt in some form, like the Warriors’ 9 losses).
The “Dig Deeper” verses in the devotional were Psalm 138 – one of the short and sweet ones. It’s only 8 verses, and includes my favorite sort: those telling how I win these days:
:1 Lord, I praise you with all my heart,
I sing songs of praise to you…
:2… I praise your name for your love and loyalty…
and doing what you promised…
Yup, praysing in song and written word, or in Sharing God’s Story in my life with others. If you’re in the Boston area, I’m always willing to visit and give testimony. That’s how I win.
:3 When I called to you for help,
you answered me and gave me strength.
:4 Lord, all the kings on earth will praise you
when they hear what you say.
:5 They will sing about what the Lord has done,
because the Glory of the Lord is very great.
From what I understand, the star on the Warrior’s team is God’s man. Overcoming for him may literally be in the final score. Sometimes, however, victory can be found in a very simple thing: to continue breathing, with all hope in things to come. Some, I know, will grumble that lack of complete defeat – struggling through life without any hint of worldly success – is not triumph. But everything is perceived by the eyes with which we see it.
:7 If I am in trouble, you keep me alive…
:8 … I know you will do what you have promised.
Lord, your faithful love will last forever.
Life itself is a victory. As the sports’ saying goes, “it ain’t over til…”