But do you know how to win?
We know how to lose but do we really know how to win? Heartbreaks, mourning, abuse, addictions, evictions, low credit scores, foreclosures - I could go on and on. The scale for some always seems to be weighed down by difficult situations and environments. Trials under our belts that we would not send to our most reckless enemies. Many of us know about losing and have very little experience with winning!
I mean winning the lottery is one thing, but what about growing up in neighborhoods where there is no gang violence. Or raising your children in a beautiful housing development where the least expensive home is $600,000. Or spending your summers away from the hustle and bustle of the city in a home that overlooks a lake fit for swimming, kayaking, or fishing everyday. Winning like, no debt. Winning like, charting your yacht for an intimate dinner with your boo and her closest buddies just because. Winning like, working in healthy environment where your talents, leadership skills and gifts are recognized. Winning like, not robbing Rasheed to pay Anthony.
But what is winning? Too often we are measuring winning streaks by the standards set by reality TV, mass media, false senses of security, and/or greed. Winning, to me is about standing again after you've fallen. It's about choosing hope when you could be hopeless. Winning is refusing to let go of God's promises. Winning is sharing your resources regardless of how little you have to share!
We have seen and experienced our fare share of destruction nearby or in our own dwelling spaces. Living under trials and tribulations. Hope being challenged. Faith being put to the test. And sometimes complacency starts to spring up like fountains. Complacency that tempt you not to seek God in prayer about the trauma and tribulations anymore. Sometimes the trials of life beat folks up so badly that they begin to think that this is what life is made of for "some folks". Some of us start to have thoughts that there is no way out, there is no light at the end of any tunnel, that maybe we were born to lose and others were born to win. Some of us don't know that we can win regardless of what we've been through!
I am a witness to the power of hope!
When you are journeying through experiences, situations and environments that are not favorable there is still hope. I can tell you about pools of blood in the hallway of our apartment building. I could tell you stories about having to do laundry at the laundromat because the property manager had to lock-down the facilities due to safety precautions. I can tell you about gang tags on the sidewalks approaching our apartment building. I can testify to praying Isaiah 32:18 even though our dwelling at the time was ratched, moldy, and cramped. I can tell you about fighting complacency and fighting to be steadfast when our circumstances should cause us to surrender to the trial, trauma, and challenge.
I want to tell you today that if you are like us, living in neighborhoods that are volatile and you remain steadfast in your faith - I promise you there is a crown made ready just for you! Will you be overwhelmed from time to time? Of course. Will you need to reach out to folks to ask them to pray for you because you don't have the words to pray for yourself? Sure. Will you gather your children and ride the bus to a different neighborhood just to get a change of scenery? Certainly. You/We will do all those things. But the most important thing is that we keep a living hope that this is temporary; that these trials will be over one day!
Many of us have been losing for a long time. I'm talking generational experiences that feel, taste, sound and are a loss. But, God has promised us a crown if we endure. Enduring, doesn't mean complacency. Enduring is about standing under pressure and not breaking completely. Enduring is about hoping even though there is no reason to hope. Enduring is about finding 1 reason to LIVE, LOVE & SHARE OUT LOUD. Enduring is about standing firm on your faith in Christ, believing that you still have the right to claim ABUNDANT LIFE on Earth!
I know you have lost much, and that you might be used to losing - but today, I pray that you begin to see how much you've been winning. And when your eyes bear witness to that winning streak, that you begin to share the beauty of those wins with others who are enduring trauma, loss, poverty, racism, gang violence, food insecurity, homelessness, unemployment, under-employment etc.
I leave you with these thoughts on winning!