Having gone to the Salvation Army church until my late teens, the first thing that comes to my mind is the old song "Victory in Jesus." I tried to find it online but there are mostly horrendous .midi versions. In case you've never heard it, I did find a fancy piano version (I have no idea how to embed it), but I always imagine a brass band, tambourines and triumphant voices in harmony:
I heard an old, old story,
How a Saviour came from Glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood's atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.
O victory in Jesus,
My Saviour, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.
I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing pow'r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, "Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,"
And somehow Jesus came and bro't
To me the victory.
I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in Glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I'll sing up there
The song of victory.
E.M. Bartlett 1939
The words are inspired by 1 Corinthians 15:57, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." This song was all I could think about today, despite today being a day of victory for me: I finished two more classes toward my degree. A victory dance (like one my friend Michelle saw in the hallway when a guy finished his last class for his degree) is all very well, but it isn't representative of the kind of victory that lasts forever.
The only victory that can last is victory over death. God gave Jesus this power: He rose after three days in a tomb. And now, when someone accepts Christ as their Lord and Saviour, they too gain victory over death. Not the kind where they inhabit the earth after they die, but an even more glorious victory! Anyone who accepts Jesus into their heart has everlasting life in Heaven, in "a mansion [God] has built for me in Glory." We need not fear death when there is something better than life on earth awaiting us. There is no better victory than victory over death.
Some of you are aware that I have two friends whom I call "Aunt" that are battling cancer, which is why I am doing this blog-off. I've consciously tried to withhold cancer references from my posts, trying to see each week's word in a different light. But this week is different, because tonight I heard that Aunt B has chosen to enter hospice care. She was diagnosed almost three years ago and told she had six months to live, but she's still with us... it's only now that she feels it is necessary to leave home for more constant care. She is one of the most incredible women of my acquaintance: a gifted musician, very caring, genuine, and a strong Christian. She is also one of those rare people who ask "How are you?" and really want to know.
Thinking about music, and in particular a song I learned at the Salvation Army, brought Aunt B to mind. Tonight's phone call really struck me: I had to write this post about the old chorus, and about a woman who has been victorious in her battle with cancer thus far. She said to me several months ago that she didn't want to go yet, because she still had work to do for the Lord. Yet she will be content when God calls her home, because she will be going to that mansion, and she will leave the earth knowing God has secured her victory over death, the one thing which so many people are afraid of. While it seems to the medical profession that Aunt B has had an "extra" two and a half years, not to mention a time yet to be determined, none of this is truly borrowed time. It is all in God's plan. Her victory is in Jesus' name, and with Him on her side she has nothing to fear.
Victory does not wave a white flag. It goes down fighting the good fight.