“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 gives us an idea of Paul’s confidence in Christ, in spite of his circumstances. Confident in the victorious outcome regardless of the current score. His confidences reminds me of a story from ancient Japan.
One of the greatest figures in Japanese history is a man named Oda Nobunaga, a brilliant military leader and skilled tactician. Nobunaga also had the distinction of being the first of Japan’s three great unifiers. Nobunaga’s greatest success was the battle of Okehazama, where his forces were outnumbered 10 to one.
Historians teach that Nobunaga would need to rely on deception and
surprise to defeat this overwhelming force set against him. Nobunaga was able to create the illusion that he possessed a large army. He did this by placing hundreds of war banners just below the reverse brow of a carefully chosen hill. As he was maneuvering on familiar ground, he circumvented the enemy position and approached from the north. A fortuitous thunderstorm screened his army’s movements, allowing Nobunaga to close on the enemy’s position. When the rain stopped, he launched a violent attack from the enemy’s rear. Although outnumbered, Nobunaga caught the enemy by surprise. Their leader, Yoshimoto, was killed by Oda samurai in his own headquarters.
However, before the battle, Nobunaga’s troops were demoralized, fearful and doubted their chance of victory. Nobunaga was confident they would win. On the eve of the battle, it is said that Nobunaga stopped at a Shinto shrine and told his men, “After I visit the shrine I will toss a coin. If heads comes, we will win; if tails, we will lose. Destiny holds us in her hand.”
Nobunaga entered the shrine and offered a silent prayer. Afterwards, he came forth and tossed a coin. Heads appeared. His soldiers were so eager to fight that they won the battle of Okehazama.
“No one can change the hand of destiny,” his attendant told him after the battle.
“Indeed not,” said Nobunaga, showing a coin which had been doubled, with heads facing either way.
The moral to the Nobunaga parable is simple: Those who put their trust in Christ have their destiny fixed. His followers know the outcome and because we know the outcome we can find creative ways to overcome our present situations. We all face overwhelming odds from time to time. For some it might be their first deployment, for others it might be a relationship ending. Regardless of the circumstances, failure is not in the destiny of those who believe they can change the outcome.
Through Christ, you can restore your marriage. You can thrive through this deployment. You can survive your teenage daughter. You are not abandoned in whatever hopeless situation you might be in right now. Your destiny is fixed, now go find a creative solution to live in that destiny.