In those early hours, before sleep-drenched skies stretched and beckoned forth the day, I lay thinking and praying. Perhaps it was the unrelenting predawn blackness that made me painfully aware of the struggles of my friend. Poor health. Unmet expectations. Dashed hopes. Emotional abuse. Bad choices. Painful memories.
To the waking world she appeared stalwart and strong. To her community of close friends she admitted her heart was crouched and wary. Because I knew the stories from her past, I called out to God on behalf of this one who has so often been a victim.
Unbidden and unexplained, a small phrase appeared in my mind, “Marked for victory.”
With those three words everything changed. My mind whirled with the implications of this new designation. A person marked for victory is called a victor, not a victim. Her destiny is not the passive plight of a helpless victim, but a noble effort whose success has been predetermined. Commissioned as a warrior in the heavenly realm, she can rest assured in the promise, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
This was hope in the darkness. It presented a truth for her and for all who long to snatch victory from seeming defeat.
An enemy has declared all-out war on her soul. His finely tuned battle plan has been crafted to sabotage her ability to become all God created her to be. He hurls abusive words and demeaning thoughts at her. He heaps insults and rejection. As if this is not enough, he deceives her into thinking it is all her fault and she is only reaping what she has sown. He is particularly pleased when she loses sight of the battle entirely and simply accepts adversity as her way of life.
Her current difficult circumstance is just the battlefield on which the war is being fought. The enemy will use either ill health or ill will to equal advantage. A trying circumstance is not her enemy, but rather the arena in which the battle rages.
Ongoing warfare produces serious wounds, but being wounded is not to be confused with defeat. Her wounds are not the battle; neither are they the enemy. Wounds are a result of warfare. They hurt. They need care. They need healing. But they do not keep her from victory.
Ultimately those three words ‘marked for victory’ reminded me that she is fighting a battle that Christ has already won for her. Even as the battle rages on earth, victory is declared in heaven.
I continue to pray for my friend, but now I pray she will dress for battle in God’s armor, stand firm on God’s Word and have the courage to continue in God’s work. And I want her to be encouraged by the knowledge that a whole army of fellow warriors battles alongside.