SHARING IN CHRIST’S VICTORY - The Warrior's Journey®


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On April 12, 2021, John Hinkle Jr. of Peoria, Illinois, bowled a perfect game – 300 points in twelve frames. Now, to be factual, the perfect game consists only of ten frames. But those first nine frames of the perfect game the bowler scores a strike (knocking down all ten pins with one shot) in each of the first nine frames. Then he or she scores three strikes in the tenth. It is a rare and heroic achievement.

But this was not John Jr.’s first perfect game. He’s bowled a number of them. When he attended Western Illinois University, he was a two-time NCAA Bowling Champion. Both he and his brother, Joe, are avid and superb bowlers.

It was their father, John Hinkle Sr., who introduced them to the sport. John Sr. was terrific at the game himself and shared all the expertise he possessed with his boys. He and his sons bowled for many years as a team. But in all his games of bowling John Sr. never once scored a perfect game. He died in 2016, never reaching that goal.

Now to some this may seem strange. But John Jr. so much wanted to honor his father that he had his bowling ball filled with his father’s ashes. It had tremendous meaning to him. It was his way of taking his father along with him into all his future triumphs – and possibly into the perfect game.

It finally happened on April 12, 2021. With his brother Joe present, John Jr. bowled twelve consecutive strikes – sharing it all symbolically with his dad. After the final strike John Jr. and Joe embraced and wept in each other’s arms. “I had tears in my eyes in the 11th and 12th frames,” said John. “I couldn’t tell you where that last ball went, I had so many tears just throwing it.”

This story reminded me of something. I’ve read of military commanders who’ve carried the ID tags of their fallen soldiers with them into all subsequent battles. It was a way of not only honoring them, but of bringing them into all the organization’s future victories. They honored the fallen soldiers as members of the team and shared the victory with them.

When I deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, our Commander, then COL H.R. McMaster, did something similar. Once we constructed a permanent headquarters building, he ordered my Chaplain Assistant and me create a “Wall of Honor” for all our fallen soldiers. This consisted of framed photos of each soldier, with a short obituary. COL McMaster not only wanted to honor these soldiers as true and current members of the team. He wanted to take them with him all the way to the final victory.

Doesn’t Jesus have that same burning desire within His breast – to share His victory with us? Doesn’t He make us participate in His victory over sin and Satan with us through all our temptations in this life? Yes, Jesus crushed the devil under His own feet (Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 2:14). But He wants to crush the devil under our feet as well. “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20).

And doesn’t His heart go out to us as we struggle against the evil current of this world, only to fall in death? Yes, His heart goes out to us. He feels every bit of our pain. And when we close our eyes in death, He immediately takes us to be with Him in heaven and honors us before all the angels of heaven. “Father, I desire that they, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory” (John 17:24).

And at the resurrection He will make us share in His ultimate victory over death and corruption, making us fit for the New Heavens and New Earth (1 Corinthians 15:12-57; Revelation 21:1). We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Therefore, “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor for the Lord is never in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).


PRAYER:  Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that Your heart goes out to me in all my struggles, that You feel every bit of my pain. And thank, Lord God of heaven that You will share Your complete victory with me – over sin, over Satan, and over death and corruption. Help me, therefore, to lift my eyes heavenward to view You on Your throne and to labor more fervently for You. Amen.


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