Setting sun over the ocean

Good wins no ultimate victories except out of the grave of apparent defeat

A good sermon

It has been said that you don’t know if a sermon is a good sermon when it is finished. Rather, you know if it’s a good sermon in the days, weeks, and months that follow as the people who heard it and the one who preached it live out the sermon in their lives.  I heard a sermon on this passage in February, 2000 and have thought about it a number of times since.

Apparent Defeat and Ultimate Victory

In the midst of many figurative passages in the book of Revelation there is a prediction of a group of future events that is very clear.

In a future time of great evil, God will send two prophets to speak in Jerusalem against the leaders of that era.  The will speak and perform miraculous signs for over three years. The leaders will then kill them and leave their bodies to rot in the streets.  People will celebrate their death but after 3 ½ days God will raise them from the dead and they will ascend into heaven.  Their apparent defeat when murdered will be turned to victory when they’re taken into heaven.  (Revelation 11:1-13)

Our defeats

A few decades ago the young reporter was interviewing an old pastor who had had a long and successful ministry.  The reporter planned to bring up a glaring failure a few decades earlier in the pastor’s career.  The reporter brought it up and the pastor said to him, “I was wrong.”  The reporter was unfazed by the response and brought it up again.  The pastor looked at him and repeated, “I was wrong.”  The interview moved on to other topics.

When we admit our failures they can’t be used to ambush us.  A simple, sincere “I was wrong” sets the record straight.

Our path to victory

Some of our failures are moral failings.  A simple, sincere “I was wrong” to God, the people we have hurt, and anyone else who needs to know ends the issue.

Many of our failures don’t seem to have a moral component. We’ve attempted things and have failed.  We have been in positions where we have not been successful.  Some respond to these by a brooding self-analysis that immobilizes their lives.

The best solution it Is to acknowledge our failings and use them as lessons for ourselves and others.  Our defeats will often lead to great victories.

We live in a fallen and finite world.  We are pilgrims here.  The real and lasting reality will only come when we live, redeemed and cleansed, in the presence of God.

How have apparent defeats turned into victories in your life?

Have you been able to share them with others?

2 thoughts on “Good wins no ultimate victories except out of the grave of apparent defeat”

  1. Hi Bob. Since God causes all things to work together for good, it seems that ALL of our defeats will ultimately turn out to be victories. We are not capable of seeing the entire landscape as God can so we can only trust in the ultimate outcome because these defeats sure don’t feel like victories much of the time. Thanks for all you do.

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