Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

It's a matter of perspective. Triumphant Defeats is an oxymoron if ever I heard one. However, this article by Os Hillman arrived in my devotional box today and it rang true with me. A defeat is only a defeat if I allow it to be, allow it to affect my faith and my walk. God is never defeated. As a Christian, I believe that God has his hand on my life; he is perfecting the masterpiece that is my life. "For I know the plans I have for you. They are for good and not for evil" Jeremiah 29:11 or in the Good News Translation:

"I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for."
- Jeremiah 29:11

Nothing can change God's attitude toward me and his plans for me. I may fail to see; I may fail to follow. But He keeps working with me, for me, in me and through me to accomplish His plans in my life. Just occasionally He allows us to see and understand with our finite human mind how Defeat can indeed be Triumphant.
The Os Hillman article follows:

Triumphant Defeats
TGIF Today God Is First, by Os Hillman

This was now the third time Jesus appeared to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. - John 21:14

William Wallace was a Scotsman who sought freedom from a tyrannical king of England in the 1200s. He initially took up this cause in retaliation for his own personal family losses. His cause grew among the people, and it became an insurrection against England. Wallace entreated Robert the Bruce, the future king of Scotland. However, Bruce betrayed Wallace in return for lands from the king of England. Wallace was turned over to the king of England to be tortured to death for crimes against England. Bruce realized his betrayal against Wallace and his own country. This remorse led to real repentance and a return to his commitment to the people of Scotland. He finally took ownership of the mission to free Scotland from England. He led the people of Scotland into subsequent battles against England and freed them. Wallace's defeat ultimately led to victory through Bruce. It took the lives of many, including Wallace, for victory to be accomplished. [James Mackay, William Wallace, Brave Heart (Edinburgh, Scotland: Mainstream Publishing, 1995).]

So often defeat is what is required before victory can be won. Jesus said that unless the seed dies and goes into the ground it cannot bring forth fruit (see Jn. 12:24). The death of a vision is often required before the fulfillment can really take place. Have you failed at something in your life? Have you not seen the vision fulfilled you thought you were given? The vision may yet happen.

The disciples thought they suffered their greatest defeat when Jesus died on the cross. However, this defeat became the greatest victory on earth. Christ's death gave liberty. Forgiveness came to all men. New life came forth-new strength for the disciples. Resurrection and new life came as a result of a "defeat."

"There are triumphant defeats that rival victories" (Montaigne, French philosopher).

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