Lessons From My Vacuum Cleaner Part 3: Moving Backward & The Winner’s Circle

“To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.”   – Revelation 3:21 NIV

Here I am writing on another lesson I learned from my trusty vacuum cleaner. Just how many more lessons my mechanical marvel holds is unknown. Maybe when the kids have moved on, and the dog is rolling in the clover of heaven, I’ll use it less and the inspiration will end. But until then, I appreciate your grace and enthusiasm for one more story (even if you have to pretend).


The other day our son came home from swim practice with a fist full of ribbons and medals he won at a recent swim meet. Each award was a reminder of his preparation, sacrifice, commitment, and passion to his sport. He was a winner and had the bling to show for it.


photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel

A bonafide winner.


God tells us we’re winners too. He calls us overcomers (1 John 5:4), more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), and he always leads us in triumphal procession (2 Corinthians 2:14). We are without a doubt first-class, heaven-grade sons and daughters of God. Victory is the air we breath and success is the food we eat!


Feels great doesn’t it?


I could stop right here and leave us floating on a spiritual high, but I haven’t told you about my vacuum yet.


The truth is, even though God calls us overcomers and conquerors, we rarely believe it, and though he’s the head drum major of our victory parade, we don’t live like it.


As a matter of fact, I’d guess most of us don’t feel like winners at all.


Oh, we want to. We impatiently squirm to step inside the winner’s circle with roses at our feet, medals around our neck, and the roaring chant of “Well done! Well done!” ringing in our ears.


Yes, we could carry this life better if we felt victory was in our hands.


But most of us we don’t feel like it. All we see is pathetic, unproductive, backward movement.


We’re discouraged and angry, for the idea of going in reverse feels like failure. 


So as I pushed my vacuum around for the eighth time in a week, I thought about winner circles, and victories, and all things backward, and realized something…


If the backward motion of a vacuum is when dirt is sucked up and the machine’s best work is done, maybe OUR best work happens when we’re in a season of backward momentum.


Think about it. When we’re in the strain, and if I may say, the “suck” of life, the fruit of the Spirit has a chance to grow and mature in us. And if God is Lord of our life, our best work – conforming to his likeness, is done – not in forward-facing glory, but in the background furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10).


Think about this too, when Jesus came down from heaven it was in the most backward way – from King to baby, and from God to flesh, and while here, he faced temptations, conflicts, and the cross and claimed victory over all of it.


His best work – his best gift, happened in a backward world, for the backward life of a sinner.


I think we shouldn’t fear – or fight, our backward “loser” status as much as we do. With a yielding spirit in the midst of a “sucking” life, God can do wonders.


He can bring about victory and send us to the winner’s circle.


That’s our reward – a chance to sit on Jesus’s lap.


photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel

“Those who are conformed to Christ in his trials and victories shall be conformed to him in his glory; they shall sit down with him on his throne, on his throne of judgment at the end of the world, on his throne of glory to all eternity, shining in his beams by virtue of their union with him and relation to him.” – Matthew Henry

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.