The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. – 1 John 5:4 The Message)
I’ve experienced it only one time. I vividly recall the occasion and the feelings around it. A woman in the church I was serving was struggling in her marriage. She and her husband were constantly struggling in their marriage. She came to talk with me one afternoon, pouring out her heart to me. We prayed for her and her husband. I had a meeting that afternoon in a town about 40 miles away.
While I was traveling to that meeting, I began praying. “Dear God, I ask you to be with Brenda and Charles. Help them to make up. Help him to see how he is hurting Brenda. Help her to gain a better attitude and more respect for Charles. Thank you, Lord, for doing this! I just sense that good things are happening in their marriage right now. I commend them to you in Jesus’ name!”
The next day I got a phone call from Brenda. I asked her, “So how are things between you and Charles?” “You wouldn’t believe it,” she said. “We’re way better.” “Yes I would,” I said. I was praying for you.
“Abram believed in God, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” – Genesis 12:6
God’s victory over Satan was secured before the foundation of time when he chose his Son to redeem the world, rescuing it from Satan’s clutches. Two events, however, loom large in the salvation saga.
The first takes place in the garden of Gethsemane. Today there are eight ancient olive trees there, near the foot of the Mount of Olives. These date back as far as 900 years ago. Two thousand years ago Jesus went there to pray. There, as Jesus poured out his heart and soul to God sweat fell from his forehead as drops of blood. The condition is known as hematohidrosis, which may be brought on by extreme stress.
Three times Jesus asked that he be spared the death he was about to endure. Three times Jesus ended his prayer, “Not my will, but your will be done.” This is faith in its truest form. Against all odds, with no apparent hope for earthly deliverance, and in the struggle where life and death hangs in the balance, to say, “Thy will be done,” is a profound expression of faith. He is “the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Now he holds the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne” (Hebrews 12:3). He is the one who “continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).
When Jesus was on the cross he cried out in agony, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me!” (Matthew 28:46). This was the moment of Satan’s defeat. When God forsook Jesus, Jesus did not forsake God. Note well: Jesus called God his God. He asked, “Why have you forsaken me?” He still yearned for a deep and loving relationship with his heavenly Father even though his heavenly Father had forsaken him.
This was the moment of Satan’s defeat. Satan may not have known it. But it was the moment of victory. When we suffer, and long for God’s help and it seems far away, faith in God wins the battle. Satan’s goal is to tear you away from God. God’s goal is to bring you ever closer to him.
What does that victory look like? How do we embrace this faith and victory of God. We’ll leave that thought till next time.