By Kelly Carr
Sometimes it’s the day-to-day accomplishments that keep us going. After three days of work, you place the report on your boss’s desk. After all day cleaning, you put the last piece of laundry away. You take your Chariots of Fire moment—striding in slow motion, wind blowing your hair back, the famous tune blaring—you’ve won!
Wouldn’t it be nice to have more of these moments? But life doesn’t always feel triumphant. Disease, death, and disasters strike suddenly. Then what do we do?
“O Lord, I have come to you for protection. . . . Save me and rescue me, for you do what is right. . . . Be my rock of safety where I can always hide” (Psalm 71:1-3, New Living Translation).
I’ve seen people face adversity with determination and hope in Jesus. At times I wonder how they do it. Yet their examples show me how to press onward.
I’d like to introduce to you a few of these victorious Christians. I hope their stories champion you forward.
Daniel and Buzi Mawyio
To our American dream mind-set, Daniel and Buzi Mawyio have very little. This Burmese family lives in a small apartment on the campus of Myanmar Bible Institute, where Daniel is a professor. In these few rooms, Daniel and Buzi raise their 5-year-old and 1-year-old sons, as well as care for Daniel’s mother, their nephew, and an orphaned young man.
On college breaks in the winter and summer, Daniel makes evangelistic trips to his homeland in the northern section of Myanmar. Travel in that area is dangerous because of rebel fighting against government rule. But Daniel goes because he grew up among the rebels and he knows they need Jesus.
This year Daniel and Buzi have faced heart-wrenching challenges. Their 5-year-old developed an infection in his abdomen that required surgery and seven weeks of hospitalization. Just after he was released, they received the shocking news that Buzi’s father had perished in a car accident.
Yet in every e-mail update, they praise God. Buzi’s sister shared with me a psalm that the family prayed through the trials: “The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them’” (Psalm 91:14, 15, NLT).
Even when there is no certainty of what tomorrow holds, the Mawyios keep taking another step forward in faith. And Jesus remains their victory.
Dalea and Jason Badami
When you meet them, Dalea and Jason Badami instantly become your friends. They have a way of loving on people and making them smile, whether in their daily routine or through the paid and volunteer ministries they’ve had over the years. It starts in their home as they raise their four children, and it emanates outward.
Today the love they have shown to others is being poured back into their lives from their church, their neighbors, their family, and friends. Because everything changes when cancer enters the picture.
It’s been a whirlwind few months for the Badami household. At the end of December, Dalea felt that something was wrong and went to the doctor. She was told she had cancer, and within a few weeks, she faced major surgery followed by aggressive chemo.
Friends, family, and fellow believers at Kingsway Christian Church (Indianapolis, Indiana) have not left the Badamis’ sides during this ordeal. Through meals, rides, financial contributions, and inviting their kids over to play, people have shown God’s love to the Badami family through action.
Dalea, Jason, and their children remain positive and trust in the ultimate healer above. They know it’s good to rely on God and others to fortify their strength. Dalea wrote to her prayer warriors, “God is definitely holding us in his hands, giving us strength and peace. We feel your prayers and thank you for taking the time to lift us up.”
Fighting battles alone doesn’t work. But a team of believers can forge together toward victory.
Ron and Gerri Henderson
In 1958, Ron Henderson was a senior at the Cincinnati Bible Seminary (now Cincinnati Christian University). A freshman young lady named Gerri caught his eye. “She had pretty hair,” Ron recalled. Though it wasn’t instant love, claims Gerri, Ron did win her over. Ron and Gerri recently celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary with their two children, 13 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.
The Hendersons have given their lives in service to God’s kingdom. Ron taught at CCU for 40 years. Gerri taught elementary school for 25 years. They’ve traveled on mission trips and housed missionaries. They’ve served at Western Hills Church of Christ for decades. As Ron and Gerri sit, holding hands, laughing, and looking into one another’s eyes, it’s no wonder they are role models to so many.
Their secret, they say, is being a team. No matter the mountaintop or valley experiences of life, they help each other. Their most recent challenge is no exception—Ron was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago. Right now things are going well. Ron still drives and takes walks as usual. “I do anything I want to do. I don’t worry about it,” he said.
The Hendersons’ Sunday school class gives them immense support and strength. Visits from cheerful friends and grandkids help them thrive and stay positive. Above all, Gerri said, “We find comfort and assurance in God’s Word and hymns. Only God knows what we’re facing ahead.”
Their current daily devotions incorporate hymns along with Scripture. Their favorite is “Take My Life and Let It Be.” Gerri doesn’t want them to forget it because it was sung at their wedding. How fitting this hymn is, as the lyrics gracefully summarize Ron and Gerri’s lives: “Ever, only, all for Thee.”
The Path to Victory
I could write volumes more about people living victoriously in Christ. So could you. We all have scars and losses. But I hope that during your dark days you have felt God and your brothers and sisters in Christ come alongside you to cheer you on to triumph.
Life will always bring struggles. So how do you stay on the path to victory?
Cling to hope. Believe that God is with you. Though he may allow you to carry burdens for a while, he never leaves you. I imagine that, like any parent, it’s hard for God not to step in and relieve our pain. He knows the big picture and how we will grow. We may not understand, but we can trust.
Look around you. Others are grieving, struggling, reaching for a hand to pull them out of their sea of sadness. You can be that hand of comfort in the lives of others—whether they are younger or older, whether family, friends, or people you haven’t met yet. Ask God’s Spirit to open your eyes to those around you. If you are willing, he will use you.
Keep an eternal perspective. “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:3, 4, NLT).
Can you see it? You’re striding in slow motion, wind blowing your hair back. As you approach the throne of God, you hear the music blare.
Kelly Carr is a freelancer, a mom, and a minister’s wife at Echo Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is also the forwarding agent for the Mawyio family (JesusLovesMyanmar.org).
Planning for Victory
1. Think of a few times in your life when you’ve been victorious over a spiritual, physical, mental, or emotional challenge. Jot down a few of the people, actions, ideas, and other elements that helped you overcome.
2. Now think of some future victories you want to celebrate. It could be something you’re in the midst of now: “I want to triumph over my teen’s struggle with an eating disorder.” Something you anticipate: “I want to be victorious over the national statistics and stay married to my spouse forever.” Or something you can never anticipate: “I want to be prepared if a natural disaster destroys my home.” This is a little odd to think about, but this type of planning can yield valuable principles.
3. Next make a list of the spiritual, physical, mental, or emotional preparations you can make now for future victories (use your list from item 1 for inspiration). Don’t wait for dark times to start reading the Bible more regularly; don’t wait to get to know your neighbors until a storm strikes your street. Look ahead at the challenges of life and take a faithful rather than fatalistic view, trusting God for every step between here and there.