Struck Down—But Don't Ever Count Me Out
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NRSV)
Growing up on the Southside of Houston, Texas taught me how to talk a licking and keeping right on ticking. (Timex does not have anything on me.) Let me tell you that it was rough; every day brought about new challenges, and I had to focus on survival. I used to think that this experience was unique to me until I found out that others have a similar testimony. (Admittedly, over the years some of our stories have taken on a life of their own.)
Many of us find this passage in Romans comforting when we think about the times we could have been knocked clean smooth out. To be knocked “clean smooth out” means that you never had a chance. After the first punch, you were down for the count: “1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . 5 . . .” You know the drill. It ends with the referee crossing his or her hands, indicating that the fight is over.
I am sure you know the fight I am talking about: the job that played out too soon; the marriage that did not survive; the children who made decisions that disappointed us; the family member who can never seem to get his or her act together; or the debt that we swore we would resolve but somehow is still an issue. We just lay back and waited for the referee to declare the fight was all over. Oh, you know what I am talking about—standing over us was the depression that just creeps up out of nowhere; or the addictions that we have vowed to deal with over the years; or even the physical ailment we know we should have dealt with many years ago.
The word of God is true—we are more than conquerors. What does it mean to be more than a conqueror? It means that we are not waiting for a simple decision. We are listening for victory in Jesus Christ. There will be no question about it. It is clear and clean cut—there is no doubt about the win. Nothing will separate us from it—not from Christ love nor from victory in his name. Somebody ought to say “Amen” in his name and for his sake.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for victory when I thought defeat was imminent. Thank you for helping me lift my head up again when I had given completely out. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that I can do all things through you, who strengthens me. Amen.
From African American History Month Daily Devotions, 2012. ©2012 Abingdon Press
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