From ruined to rescued, broke to prosperous, shattered to whole.
TRIUMPH(ed) is the story of how my wife and I are climbing out from under a mountain of debt, poor credit, and far too many mistakes to claim the reward He has promised.
Follow us on this journey. Witness the trials, failures, doubts, frustrations, and ultimately the TRIUMPH firsthand. In real time.
Everyone’s fighting a battle you know nothing about. This one is ours.
And we’ve already won!
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November 28 – The Battle Rages
The spiritual battle is real.
Make no mistake about it, just because the end has already been decided for us, that doesn’t mean the battles stop. In fact, when an enemy is pushed into a corner, that’s when they’re most dangerous.
That’s when they become feral, enraged, and unconcerned about what happens to them.
All the enemy wants is to destroy. That’s his goal.
No sooner do I sit down and figure out I’m called to write about this journey from failure to redeemed, from defeated to Triumph(ed), does the spiritual battle intensify.
Evil is ruthless. Relentless. It won’t rest.
Many people ask the question, “If there’s a God, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?”
I was one of those skeptics (once upon a time). I didn’t believe in God. Then I did, but I only saw Him as a spoiled brat who enjoyed tormenting people. I hated Him.
But the truth is He doesn’t really ‘allow’ bad things to happen. Not really. We do. We’re the architects of evil. Each one of us.
God actually holds evil back. His grace abounds on all of us. Just imagine if He gave up on humans and this beautiful world He created. Imagine a society where laws no longer meant anything, where rules were never enforced, where the police simply walked away from their jobs.
We’re actually witnessing a small sample of what that could look like in a growing number of cities. It’s not good. And yet, even the worst of what’s going on there is better than any of us deserve.
Maybe you believe people are inherently good. Sure, we’d want to believe that. We desperately crave that to be true.
But we’re not. Not of us are. Not on our own. According to God’s Word, no one is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). Jesus said, “Why do you call Me good?” Jesus added, “No one is good except God alone.”
When we were back in Connecticut, we noticed the police essentially gave up trying to slow people down or enforce traffic laws. Sure, they sit along the side of the road, have their radar guns out, and pull a few random cars over, but for the most part they don’t bother. There are reasons for this, but those aren’t important. What’s important are the consequences.
People drive more recklessly there (and throughout New England) than most other states in the country. Average speeds exceed 20 mph over the posted limits, car after car after car roll through or completely blow through stop signs and red lights. More and more angry, impatient drivers ride bumpers at 75 mph in a 55 zone, in both right and left lanes. They cut others off. They flip obscene gestures without thought. They are reckless and fearless, hostile and belligerent.
They don’t care.
And this is done by your neighbors, your friends, your family, your coworkers, your boss, and yes, even your pastors and elders and deacons … maybe even you. Mothers with young kids in the car, twentysomethings on their way to a party, and 50-something professionals just heading to work. It doesn’t matter. It’s almost everyone.
It’s a completely different atmosphere than what we’ve found in North Carolina and other states where speed limits are still respected and monitored (at least to some degree).
People are good? Please … take a baby and don’t teach that toddler and then young child to share, to not steal, or to accept ‘no’ for an answer and what happens? You end up with a spoiled brat who takes toys from others, won’t share, and will throw a violent temper tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. Good?
We’re not good. Not even close. We never were. We never would be.
Outside of God’s grace and mercy, we are inherently evil. We are selfish. Greedy. Indulgent. Petulant. Mean.
But it’s that common grace God offers us that keeps all hell from literally breaking out on this planet.
And through it all, a spiritual battle rages all around us. It’s real. When we’re rooted in Christ, when we’re forgiven our sins because He made the perfect sacrifice and we repent of our sins and trust in Him as Lord and Savior, nothing angers those dark spiritual forces more.
When that happens, they are vicious. They won’t give us rest. We will be hit. We will be struck. We will be attacked. Over and over and over.
No matter the plan, no matter the focus, we’ll wake up each morning with a new fight to face. I did. I have. Often.
When I set out to write this account of triumph(ed), those forces went harder at work in my life. I have felt the weight of their onslaught. It wears me down, beats on me, and I started to feel hopeless, lost in the darkness. I strained and struggled to get started with this new life, and around every corner was another barrier, another temptation, another false start, another failure.
But God’s Word reminds me to constantly seek Him, to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), and when we’re weak, that’s when He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Some days the road will feel smooth. Some days it’ll be rough. Either way, we must remind ourselves that the battle isn’t against each other; it’s not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-12). Not the political forces here on earth. Not my unsaved friends and family. Not my lukewarm brethren in the faith.
Do I feel triumphant? Not even close. Mostly, I feel the exact opposite.
That doesn’t mean I’m not. You’ll have plenty of those moments. When we recognize and truly understand salvation, we don’t ask God, ‘Why are you allowing bad things to happen to me’ or ‘Why won’t you bless me?’ He’s already blessed us endlessly.
When these situations play out, we need to ‘meditate on His word day and night’ (Psalm 1) for He is the Word (John 1:1). His Word is the Truth, the revelation of His will for us, and a source of our strength.
For millennia, men and women gave their lives to fight for what they believe in, not knowing the result -whether they’d win or lose. We know the answer. We know we triumph. All the more reason to keep pushing and fighting and striving in the battle.
This week, the battle has been intense. It derailed me. For a moment.
But I press on.