And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. -Colossians 2:15
There is so much pain, suffering, violence, and trauma in the world. The statistics are staggering beyond human comprehension. Everyday and every moment, someone, somewhere, is undergoing some kind of abuse, injustice, or traumatic experience. We live in a very dark, broken and fallen world.
And yet, it is in this very context, that the coming of Christ, Immanuel, God with us, the Light of the World and Savior of the World, becomes all the more meaningful. God himself has not shied away from or shielded himself from pain, trauma, violence, abuse and rejection. The very circumstances of his birth foreshadow an even greater suffering he would endure on a cross. From no room at the inn, to the false accusations and rejection his parents experienced, to being born in a wooden feeding trough, to not being recognized or celebrated by the very world he created and came to save; his birth was just the beginning of the agony of the cross.
When you think about it, no one has suffered greater abuse, trauma, rejection or injustice than Jesus. Having committed no wrong-doing of his own; he was wrongly condemned to the horrors of crucifixion. Having lived a sinless life, he was sentenced to death on a cross.
If anyone ever had the right to take upon themselves the identity of “victim” it was Jesus.
And yet, this is not the identity Jesus took for himself. In fact, it’s not even the emphasize in Scripture. Rather than painting him as a victim, Scripture describes him as a victor, conquering and defeating his enemy on the very instrument that would seem to shout “victim!” Jesus is described as the champion of a great battle that by his very death on the cross, disarms all demonic power and destroys the power of sin that holds us captive as slaves.
His very endurance of these traumatic events crowned him a victor rather than a victim!
Here is what I believe God recently impressed upon my heart: the fact that you have simply endured whatever trauma, injustice, abuse or suffering you have experienced, and because of your identity in Christ as a child of his, deeply loved by him, you are a victor not a victim!
This is not at all to diminish the pain you have suffered. It is not at all to justify the unjustifiable. This is not to say whatever happened to you is ok. But it is to say the way you view yourself and the identity you take upon yourself makes all the difference.
Here is the truth of God’s word to you no matter your circumstances or situation:
Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. -Romans 8:34-37
If you feel forsaken; Jesus understands. If you feel forgotten; Jesus understands. If you feel mistreated, abused, rejected; Jesus understands. If you are suffering, have endured trauma or pain; Jesus understands. He has entered our world, our brokenness, our pain, our suffering, our trauma. He is “Immanuel” God with us. He is our light in the darkness, our Savior in our sin, our hope in our despair, our joy in our sorrow, our strength in our weakness.
In Christ, you are not a victim, you are a victor. Your very endurance and faith in Christ, is proof of your victory. You are, in Christ, because of his great love for you, more than a conqueror, no matter your circumstances.