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  • Writer's pictureWill Stockdale

On Encouragement

Looking forward to final victory in the Lord.

Let those who delight in my righteousness

shout for joy and be glad

and say evermore,

“Great is the Lord,

who delights in the welfare of his servant!”–Psalm 35:27

Maybe in hindsight it seems cheesy, but there was always something fun about parents forming a victory tunnel after a little league baseball game. When it was over and we had gathered our equipment together, the players’ parents would be standing on either side of the dugout. Their arms at 45 degree angles, cheering us on as we made our way off the field. They had been there the whole time. Sitting in the stands. Encouraging us as we walked to the plate. And as we made our way home we were able to look and be reminded that they were our biggest fans.

While those are good memories, it’s more than just little leaguers who need encouragement. Our lives are often filled with obstacles, trials, heartaches, and disappointment. We experience unmet expectations and unfulfilled dreams. As Christians we are called to follow Jesus and told that “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). If you have been a Christian for any amount of time, those words probably don’t come as a surprise to you. You can most likely tell a number of stories about challenges you have faced.

One story might be the result of some long, ongoing struggle with sin. It may consist of successes and failures, defeats and victory. Another might be about the loss of friendship because you chose to follow Jesus and were rejected. Perhaps there is a story about enduring ridicule and mockery because you believe in a God who teaches things that the world cannot stand to hear. Or it might just be about the fatigue that results from the “thousand natural shocks to which this flesh is heir.”

G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” Jesus never promised his disciples an easy life, but he did promise victory. As the second half John 16:33 says, “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” In those moments when we face the challenges of life we desperately need to remember those words.

As the one who overcame for us, on our behalf, he also intercedes for us daily (Romans 8:34). Our Lord, the one who paid the penalty for our sins is at the right hand of the Father cheering us on. He is praying for us and with all the host of heaven eager to see our victory as we cross the finish line.

As the one who bought our righteousness with his own blood, there is no One who delights more in your righteousness. There is joy and gladness in Heaven for you. It may not be a victory tunnel, but if a victory tunnel was fun, imagine how great the victory celebration in Heaven is.

Rev. Will Stockdale is Ministry to State's Director of D.C. ministry.


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