One day, years ago, I was having a really bad newscast on the radio. I was anchoring, and I stumbled over several words. Right after we went into commercial, someone called the station and told me I was the worst anchor he had ever heard. It hurt. All I could say was, “Thanks so much for your call.”
I’ve had times where I thought a project was going my way, but it went south. I’ve failed a couple of tests in school. I’ve had people I thought were close to me back off. I’ve lost contests I thought I would win. I have sinned in ways I have regretted. And I’ve had times where I’ve felt misunderstood and was deeply frustrated.
You can probably relate to these. We’ve all failed at something at one point or another. These aren’t shining times. These are dark ones we’d rather not talk about.
But it’s interesting that every year as a Church, we lift up something that, on paper, looks like utter ruin, a disastrous failure. And we rejoice.
The Passion and Death of Jesus seem to be the failure of a would-be leader. The people didn’t understand Him. They turned on Him. They beat Him and spit on Him. They took Him to a shameful death.
But this situation is a sign of contradiction, a stumbling block to the world. The torturous cross of the Romans two-thousand years ago became the symbol of life and victory forever worldwide. And that means, as you are yoked to Christ in faith, that all your suffering can become a sign of contradiction too.
Do you believe in the Resurrection?
We say in the Creed every week that we believe in the Resurrection. But do you really believe in it? Do you believe every single thing can work for the good for those who believe (Romans 8:28)? When you are sitting in the middle of a crisis, do you hold God down and say, “I’m calling on you to keep your promises"? Do you tell God, "This is going to be a sign of contradiction for Your glory"? This is what you mean when you say, “I believe in the Resurrection from the dead.”
Do you believe that?
I didn’t believe it for a long time. I have sat in despair so many times. But in prayer over the past few years, I have taken deeply the idea that God always wins and everything can be victory. If He is always winning, then we as Christians are always winning. If we are rejected, we remember God never rejects us and draw nearer. We remember that Jesus was rejected and pray for conversations to accept Him. If we fail, we thank God that we were humbled. We praise Him for reminding us that we need a Savior. If a project goes south, we thank God that it wasn’t His will. We remember He knows well the plans He has for us. If we are sick, we praise God for our greater dependence on Him. We praise Him as healer of body, mind and spirit. If someone we love dies, we praise God for Heaven. Even if Christians are martyred, we praise the Lord that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. After we get to Heaven, God makes us the patron saint of whatever ailed us. God is always winning!
Jesus the Messiah didn’t come to Earth dressed in purple on a horse to lead an army. That part comes later at the end of time. On earth, He chose a more complete victory that goes beyond human wisdom - taking every evil and turning it inside out to cause good. For His glory and our conversion, every single difficulty can bring us and others closer to Him. And that is winning.
I believe in the Resurrection. What dead thing in your life are we taking to Jesus right now for Him to resurrect? I’ll pray with you. The Lord wants dominion over everything. He is raised to life. And He is taking you with Him.
But in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through Him who loved us.