"Nothing can defeat us"
It can be full of potential. If you get to the store at 4:00 a.m., you can get a great deal on this computer.
It can be full of longing. If I were a millionaire, I could pay off my house.
It can be full of blame. If you had paid more attention, we would not have missed that turn.
It can be full of manipulation. If you really love me, you will say yes.
It can be full of regret. If only I had things differently, maybe my baby would still be alive.
In all of these, the outcome depends on the conditions on the "if" being met. But there is another way to use "if" that is full of promise.
That "if" assumes that the first point is already true. God is for us. Paul established that in the first part of Romans 8 and goes to remind us of all he has done - did not spare his son, that Christ died and was raised and us interceding for us and that God stands ready to graciously give us all things. Therefore, nothing can defeat us.
And the list of things that could defeat us is long and serious. Tribulation. Distress. Famine. Death. The future.
We feel defeated sometimes, don't we? I do, when my life tumbles out of control. I have, whenever another baby has died. And I felt a million miles away from God's love, because if God loved me, wouldn't he protect me from pain?
But that is not the promise of Scripture. The promise is not that nothing will cause me pain, but that even those things that can bring awful pain will not conquer me or separate me from God's love. Again, believing that is an act of faith, but it doesn't always feel true.
But it is. Because Jesus was victorious on the cross (the real Black Friday!). Because he defeated sin to the uttermost, so that I have the hope of heaven, the hope of having the power to choose rightly, the hope of future glory, the hope of seeing God work in all of our circumstances.
And the hope of knowing God's love even when I feel defeated, because if I look to the cross and the emoty tomb, I can know that He wins, and so I win. And so do you.
As Thanksgiving winds up and Advent begins, hold on to that promise. God's love is real and will not let you go.