living victory in a messed up world

But when I am afraid,
    I will put my trust in you.
  I praise God for what he has promised.
    I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
    What can mere mortals do to me? – Psalm 56:3-4

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

author Derek Maul

May 2017 has been unusually busy. There has been a lot going on, a lot to write about, a lot to photograph, a lot to reflect on. By the time this month comes to a close Wednesday evening, this blog will have been viewed well over 17,000 times.

If you scroll back through my posts over the past thirty days you will see some stunning photography, and be able to read about everything from a glamorous wedding, to a spiritual retreat, to baptisms, to a 65th wedding anniversary, to a preschool graduation, and – most importantly – the day-to-day experiences of grace and grateful hearts that define our life here in North Carolina.

This Broken World

At the same time, and while I am enjoying myself so immensely here in Wake Forest, we live in a world that seems to be increasingly troubled, dissonant, broken, violent, confused, compromised, and distressed.

Is it reasonable, then, for me to write so positively and hopefully in the face of such genuine pain and constant grief?

I’d argue “Yes”, for many reasons. The scriptures are clear regarding our responsibility to look at the big picture – God’s picture – and to place the challenges of our regular lives into the context of God’s great love, purposes, sovereignty, and – reassuringly – ultimate victory.

Not “pie in the sky when we die” victory, but “a very present help in time of trouble” (Psalm 46).

We talked yesterday about how salvation is NOW, and how we are called to participate in God’s initiatives. Well, God’s victory is also now (as well as in the future), and our salvation (our positive response to God’s invitation) is a key part of God’s plan.

Jesus is very clear that he has already overcome the world! To a large extent, then, we are evidence of God’s victory. Our best response to this troubled, dissonant, broken, violent, confused, compromised, distressed world is to live into that victory – walking tall, living as active disciples of Jesus, a spring in our step, assurance in our hearts!

Last week in my Wednesday Bible study we talked about Jesus’ interrogation by the authorities the night before he was crucified. Rome held the power, wielded the brutality, owned the legal mechanism, judged and condemned, kept the keys to the jail, carried out the execution, held all the control… But Jesus was the one who stood with confidence, responded without fear, demonstrated authority.

That’s the quality of victory that is ours if we respond to Christ’s invitation to enter the Kingdom.

Do we dare to embrace it?




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