I loved the first Avengers movie and couldn’t wait to see the second one when it came out last spring. Life happens, though, and I only recently sat down to watch it.
Here’s what I like about movies like the Avengers: no matter how bad things get, the good guys always win. There may be moments when you aren’t sure how they’ll pull through, but somehow, they always manage to rig something here, escape danger there or show up at just the right time.
You know they’ll win because they have to; they’re the Avengers.
And that’s what it’s like to be on God’s side.
In Deuteronomy, Moses lays out various rules and commands, given by God, for His people—Israel—to follow. Chapter 20 is about going to war:
Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory (Deuteronomy 20:3-4).
I mean, is there anyone better to fight for you than God Himself? The “God of angel armies” as the song goes?
Later in the Old Testament, we read this:
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you” (Isaiah 41:13).
Now does that mean that if you love God and try to live your life for Him, then you’ll never have any problems? Or encounter failure? Or be in danger? Certainly not.
The Struggle is Real
When Jesus taught His disciples, He said:
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
Did you notice the word will? Not “might” or “maybe possibly sometime.” Will.
We’re imperfect, stubborn humans who will mess up and will do the wrong thing and will face others just like us. There will be terrorism and calamity and persecution. BUT …
“But take heart,” Jesus says. “I have overcome the world.”
What exactly does that mean? It means that when Jesus died on a cross, He took our sins with Him—all the things that cause our troubles and suffering. And it means that when He rose from the dead, He defeated the consequences of sin: evil and death.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Our struggles—and the world’s struggles—are inevitable, but when we make Jesus part of our lives and put our total trust in Him, we’re not alone. And we can be assured of ultimate victory over evil, whether we get a glimpse of it in this life or not.
Still, sometimes we wish the win would come sooner.
In his famous “How long, O Lord?” speech, the prophet Habakkuk asked God why He wasn’t punishing all the evil around him. God said He would bring evil to justice, but that He was working in His time to do so. Which means Habakkuk might not be around to see it.
The Great Triumph
One of my favorite movie clips of all time is from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In the second movie, The Two Towers, Aragorn and some other good guys attack an army of bad guys in a desperate attempt to buy time while women and children escape the area. Greatly outnumbered, the good guys are eventually surrounded in the valley.
But then …
Just as it seems there’s no way out, Aragorn looks up the huge hill and sees Gandalf, the wise, no-nonsense wizard who was thought to be dead. His long, white hair blends into his white cloak as he sits on his majestic white horse. He’s brought help—thousands of fighters—and leads them down the hill in a heart-thumping, ground-pounding charge, full force ahead.
It gives me goosebumps.
We might not always get a front-row seat to the victory, but we’re promised as followers of Christ that it will come. That He will not only be on our side here on earth to help us and guide us, but that we will spend eternity with Him, triumphant over evil’s grasp and safe in the presence of Almighty God.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:2).
Take a minute to read the rest of Psalm 91. What kind of picture does it paint of God?