By Kelly Capriotti Burton
At a very precarious time in my life â€“ 19 years old, dropping out of college, breaking off a long relationship, seeking the Holy Spirit, the worship leader at my church sang an old chorus that often rings through my mind:
â€œWe win, we win, Hallelujah, we win! I read the back of the book, and we win!â€
Itâ€™s simple, and for Christians, it should be enough, yes? At the end of these lives we lead, which are only blips on the scope of eternity, there is a trophy for us, a mansion for us, a blissful eternity for us.
Itâ€™s already been decided.
So why do we fret over the minutiae of everyday life? Â Why do we wring our hands over uncertain circumstances or tense relationships? Why do we lose hope in the face of trials?
God is sitting on His throne, with the whole world in His hands, saying, â€œKids, I GOT it!â€
I know this in my heart and Iâ€™ve read it in the book (specifically, Revelation), but sadly, even in a more seasoned age in life, I struggle living this truth. It hurts me when Iâ€™m â€œdefriendedâ€ on this or that social network for my beliefs. It bothers me that our house has been on the market for five months with no offers in sight. It breaks my heart to hear a friend has received a gloomy diagnosis. It exhausts me when we put our best efforts into things that wage mediocre results. It perplexes me when people are mean or kids rebel or every bit of news on the TV is violent or tragic.
I know weâ€™re going to win, God, but this battle is HARD.
We recently returned from a 26 day road tripâ€¦three weeks of ministry, one week of vacation. It as exhilarating and draining, educational and confounding. We visited friends and family, we saw new places, we played hard (because thatâ€™s how our family relaxes, apparently). When we returned, it took me days â€“ days â€“ to recuperate. I was off my game. I would try to make dinner and not have the right groceries to complete the meal. I would attempt a project and tire out halfway through. The sound of my children calling â€œMommyâ€ was more likely to elicit an eye-roll than a smile.
I felt burned out.
And a little lost.
And honestly, the thought of victory not only seemed far away, but irreleveant. There is such a long journey to go, yes?
Today, just today, I got an email several timesâ€¦ from our church list, from a friend, and on Facebook. A pastor and his wife in Georgia lost their 4-year old child in a horrific automobile accident. The driver who caused it was 16 and unlicensed.
Imagine thatâ€¦ lives ruined in a moment. Nothing about my life, my day, my â€œgetting back in the swing of things,â€ compares to what the people in this situation are dealing with.
Meanwhile, for the last several days, thousands (millions, I suppose) of us have been glued to our television watching the rescue of the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for more than two months. These 33 men stuck together through a time of darkness that is completely unimaginable: they communed, they cared for their health, and in the words of one of them, they had a choice between God and the devil, and they â€œchose God.â€
There are darknesses and losses that run deep, there are situations and relationships that weaken us, and there is a vast unknown between where we are today and the day when we will be called home. But there is a promise that runs like a chord through all of it. It is repeated in scripture over and over ~
â€œAnd surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
â€œNow have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimonyâ€¦â€ Revelation 12:10-11
â€œBrothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lordâ€™s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.â€ 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
â€œThe Spirit and the bride say, â€œCome!â€ And let him who hears say, â€œCome!â€ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of lifeâ€¦He who testifies to these things says, â€œYes, I am coming soon.â€ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with Godâ€™s people. Amen.â€ Revelation 22: 17. 20-21
If you are discouraged, be it for a season or just for the day, read the book â€“ particularly the back of the book. God promises this: We WIN!
Hailing from Al Caponeâ€™s old stomping ground, Chicago Heights, IL, Kelly Capriotti Burton was a stranger to Southern Gospel music until marrying into it! Always a music fan, she discovered a fondness for gospel harmonies, southern hospitality, and road life while traveling with her husband Rod Burton.
Kelly has previously worked as a corporate project manager and a high school English teacher. She has written and taught in a variety of outlets and now spends her time caring for three daughters (two toddlers, one teen), assisting with Rodâ€™s ministry, serving as Editor-in-Chief of SGN Scoops Digital Magazine, and to break up the boredom, working as a partner in YMR Music Productions, which presents the Branson Gospel Music Revival.
She considers life to be one unexpected adventure after another; her biggest so far was having two babies in 15 months after being diagnosed with infertility. She considers laughter (with a side of sarcasm) to be the best strategy, Godâ€™s grace to be the greatest gift, and miracles to always be possible.