I just wanted to decompress for a couple of hours. Instead, I got ambushed by the Holy Spirit.
Things have been busy. Last week, I had a couple hours free and decided to go to the movies. Movies are a great way for me to check out for a bit. If I watch one at home I either tinker with other things while I’m supposed to be watching or fall asleep, so for the desired effect I need to actually go see a movie in a theater.
I had trouble deciding what to see. Most of what appealed to me I’d either already seen or wasn’t playing nearby. However, Creed 2 was showing almost everywhere and had good reviews. I had no idea it was part of the Rocky franchise until I read the summary. I’m not a boxing fan but had seen and liked the first Rocky movie way back when. Even though I don’t remember seeing the sequels, including the first Creed movie, I knew it had an overall redemptive type storyline. Sounded harmless enough, so off I went.
I had no idea I was walking straight into a Holy Spirit ambush.
Although the film moved along predictably, it was still highly watchable with lots of meaningful themes woven throughout (even if I did have to close my eyes in some of the fight scenes!). Then it came to the last big fight scene. You know, the fight scene–not the ones leading up to it. Adonis Creed had already been beaten to pulp by his opponent in a previous fight. Though he hadn’t lost his title in the last match (because his opponent didn’t fight fair – hmm, what does that remind you of?) he felt he needed to prove himself by fighting again. Although he was stronger this time, he was still getting pulverized. It was hard to watch. At one point Creed was down for the count. Rocky (now his coach) asked if he wanted to throw in the towel. Creed said no, and started to rally himself.
Then it happened.
It only took a couple notes. It was the Rocky theme song. I probably haven’t heard it in years. If I heard it in a different context the music would have been familiar but I’m not sure I would have tied it to Rocky. But right there, at that exact point in the movie, I recognized it immediately. Even more, my spirit recognized it.
It was the victory song. It was the song of triumph. As soon as the first few notes of that song were released, I knew. I just knew. I knew that I knew that I knew–everything was about to shift.
My response was immediate and visceral. I started weeping profusely. At the same time I wanted to jump to my feet and release a shout – a yell – some kind of crazy, guttural scream of victory. It was only with significant effort that I kept myself in my seat and from wailing out loud in that very public theater.
Adonis did get back on his feet. Ultimately, he even won the fight. In the end, it was his opponent who threw in the towel. The momentum shifted the instant the first note of the victory song was released.
Obviously, my reaction was about much more than a movie. My reaction was swift and strong because just recently–so very, very recently– I heard heaven’s victory song over my own life. I don’t know that I could have given it that language before the movie but the shift was just as sudden. Because as soon as I heard the first notes of His song of deliverance…
-I knew I couldn’t throw in the towel
-I knew I would find the strength to get up again
-I knew I was going to get back in the fight
-And, most importantly, I knew that this time, everything would be different
Like Adonis–and like so many of you–I’ve been beaten to a bloody pulp. Although it has been most intense recently, the battle wounds have been cumulative over a period of years. My soul has been weary. It’s hard to admit, but I wasn’t sure I even wanted to get up again. I figured maybe my time had passed. I thought maybe I would just cheer on the next generation from the sidelines. Take a safer route. Stay out of the heat of battle.
Then I heard the song. And everything changed.
Beloved, it’s not over until it’s over. You may be beaten. You may be bloody. You may have lost more than your share of battles. You may be so weary you’re not sure you want to get up again. But it’s not over until it’s over. Really, it’s not over unless you want it to be over.
And do we really want it to be over before we’ve given our all to the One who has given all to us?
There is a new song – a song of victory – a song of triumph – a song of deliverance – being released in this hour. It is being released over those with ears to hear.
It’s not about winning every fight. It’s about getting up again. It’s about standing. It’s about believing. It’s about persevering. It’s about giving your all. Not someone else’s all–your all.
We may still lose some battles along the way, but the momentum is shifting. Fresh fire is being released. Renewed passion is stirring. Vision and clarity are being restored. Hearts are being awakened.
Because it’s not over until it’s over.
And beloved, it’s NOT over–in fact, we’re just beginning.
I did a Facebook Live on this topic a little while ago. Here is the link if anyone is interested: MMM #7 FB Live