June 18, 1815 — It was a momentous day for the people of Europe. On this day, the climactic Battle of Waterloo would decide their fate. Would the French forces of Napoleon Bonaparte and Michael Ney defeat the allied forces of Prussia, Russia, Austria, and England under the command of Duke Wellington and Gebhard Von Blucher, or would the Allies successfully divert Napoleon’s attempt to reclaim his position as emperor? The fate of history lay in the balance.

The English townspeople waited with bated breath. News from the battlefront would be transmitted to them via signal lamps at a church cathedral’s bell tower. The first message generated much commotion, for it read: “Wellington Defeated.” The crowd of onlookers slowly dispersed with dejected expressions on their faces. As if on cue, a dense fog came and obscured the church from view. But then the fog lifted, revealing the rest of the message: “Wellington Defeated the Enemy.” Despair became delight as the message of joy spread like wildfire.

Like the Englishmen who lost heart after only reading part of the message, Christians often give up too soon. After a series of tense battles between our flesh and new nature, we settle for defeat and concede victory to our enemy. We lose the will to stay in the fight, to try again, to trust again. The only remedy for our melancholy is to read the full message: “Defeated the Enemy.” Only then will our despair fade into joy.

As you read this, you may be on the brink of despair because your present circumstances declare you are defeated. You have been unsuccessful in your job search; your health has gone from bad to worse; you see no hope for the future because you are mired in the failures of your past. Perhaps you wrestle with discontentment. You feel victory cannot be yours until you get, have, or do whatever is eluding you. Be sure to read the whole message: you are the victor, not the one who has been defeated.  The entire message from God to you is: “God Defeated Satan!”

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.