Springs Rescue Mission:

The conquest of defeat: a Lent devotional by Wayne Kraiss

The conquest of defeat: a Lent devotional by Wayne Kraiss

Lent is a season of reflection — a time to walk in love and to meditate on how we as Christians can learn new ways to “Love Bigger.” To observe the 40 days of Lent, Springs Rescue Mission is sharing devotionals from local faith and community leaders. The theme of this series is the same as that of our organization: “Love Bigger.” These two words are meant to be a reminder of the endless love of God in our lives, as well as a charge to us as Christians to meditate on how we might reflect that love on our fellow man.

There is something very unsettling about the word “defeated.”It conjures up negative feelings: weakness, disaster, frustration, disappointment hopelessness, failure, despair.

“I will never leave you. I am always with you.” - Hebrews 13:5

As Jesus was bound and led out of the Garden of Gethsemane by an angry mob, it did not look like He was able to keep that promise. Where was the strength that gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and that raised Lazarus from the dead? He stilled a storm, walked on water, cleansed lepers and turned water into wine.But suddenly, Christ was a prisoner, to be beaten and murdered. Were His followers somehow duped? He was nailed to a cross naked. He was humiliated and mocked. They had put their hope and trust in Christ, and this was not what they signed up for. Had they been betrayed?His followers believed He had all power in heaven and on earth. His death seemed to be the ultimate defeat.Then they heard Him throw in the towel with the words, “it is finished.” They stood at the cross, expecting at any moment Christ would show His power and escape. But when nothing happened, they lost hope.But the fight wasn’t over.As one preacher so eloquently said, “it was Friday ... but Sunday was coming.” Yes, the cross looked like the greatest defeat of all. But it wasn’t time to give up hope. Things looked bleak, as they often do when the outcome doesn’t meet expectations.But Easter represents the conquest of defeat — the ultimate victory.With the words “it is finished,” Satan’s show was over. The curtain was drawn on the battle against darkness. But God had only just begun to show His strength.Because of God’s defeat of Satan on that Easter Sunday long ago, we know where true power is found. In Christ alone, we have strength to conquer Satan’s best efforts to defeat us.

"If Christ is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31

The timing didn’t seem right to the those who loved and followed Jesus. For a while, the cross looked like a tragic defeat. But Easter morning was the real defeat: of sin, of death and of the grave. Life’s overcoming of death is our inheritance. It makes us conquerors in Christ.We need only hold on to hope, let go of expectation and trust God’s perfect timing.Wayne Kraiss lives in Colorado Springs and is the former president of Vanguard University of Southern California in Costa Mesa.Subscribe to our blog to learn more about Springs Rescue Mission and the people we serve — people who have seen tough times but are committed to breaking the cycles of homelessness, hunger and addiction in their lives. We see stories of hope and transformation lived out every day, and we’d love to share them with you.

Visit springsrescuemission.org/gss to learn more.

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