“We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, everyone overcome.” ~ Desperation Band, Jon Egan, 2007
Over the past two years, I have seen and heard time and time again of people who have “overcome.” They have overcome difficult circumstances, they have overcome tragedy, and they have overcome attempts by the devil trying to gain a hold on their lives. My most vivid picture and testimony of the will to overcome come from the tragic and unexpected loss of my nephew, William Thomas Darnell Jr., to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), in March, 2008. As the two years have passed since that day, I have witnessed as my sister and her husband have pressed deeper toward the Lord and placed all that they have in His hands; and, as a result they have overcome and continue to walk in healing. I have witnessed how He has blessed their faithfulness to Him. Has it been an easy road? No, not in the least, but it has been a journey from loss to meaningful life once again.
As the days following that tragic day unfolded, I watched from a distance as my sister both questioned and listened to her Heavenly Father, and trusted as He began to speak and comfort her and her husband. I watched as my sister so adamantly wrote and delivered the eulogy at her son’s memorial service. I watched how her grief and honesty testified to others in being open and honest with their grief. I watched as she and her husband built (and continue to build) a ministry that assists other families who face the same loss that they experienced. It is a ministry that might not have been planted had they not walked this road themselves. I have witnessed and heard the countless stories of the families they have assisted in the year-and-a-half that the ministry has existed, and I have seen how God is using the love and compassion in their hearts for a greater good.
I believe that overcoming is a choice that we are all given the opportunity to make. My sister and her husband overcame by trusting in God’s plan, while not knowing what it might be. A lot of the strength they found came from the support system around them. They were able to choose to overcome, to trust in the Lord because of so many people around them trusting, praying, and believing for them.
I foresee for my future a calling to trust in, support, and pray for others. Years ago, I felt called to pursue a masters degree for a career in professional counseling. It was not until two-and-a-half years later that I finally began the journey that would get me to that degree. Through that journey, it has never been about the degree or the initials after my name, but about continuing to work through my “overcome” moments and hopefully helping others do the same.
There is so much hope in the phrase “to overcome” and I thank God for the work He has done and continues to do to help me overcome challenges so that I, in turn, can minister and help guide others toward Him. International Justice Mission is a ministry that gives others the opportunity to choose to “overcome.” When I look at the work that IJM has done and continues to do, I see how they step forward as God has called each worker and volunteer. Those workers and volunteers teach others across different nations to overcome, to see that there is something beyond what they have always believed to be the only way to survive.
Jesus Christ came to this world to overcome so that we may have the choice to overcome through his power and love. It is when we make that decision that we fully walk into all that God has planned for us. Overcoming is a universal word, a universal concept… I do not believe that there should be any cultural barriers when it comes to learning how to overcome.