Defeat is a very terrible thing to experience but on the other hand, it is not final and it is not the worst experience one might have. There are times people get beaten in a battle or contest, they get demoralized and they begin to contemplate giving up. Two persons may have a different perspective towards defeat and it is your perspective that may determine your next experience. One person may decide never to try again while another person may see it as an opportunity to retreat and re-fire. Defeat comes with fear at times but for some people, it comes with a great lesson. Whatever the case may be for you, the Psalmist says something very powerful in Psalm 56:3
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in God.”
There are times it seems hard to trust God, those times when you realize that you have been defeated in something, it would be a business failure, a relationship mishap or just anything that means a lot to you! It would even be health issues like incurable diseases and the doctor’s report may have put you on timing but as long as there is still some element of life in you, there is hope. The first step to deal with the trauma of defeat is to be hopeful, not necessarily because you know what to do but because you know that you are still living. The presence of life means the possibility of greatness and victory. In this regard, your hope should be in God.
The most difficult times to trust God is when we do not see possible means through which God will settle our issues. Sometimes we are trusting God to use an Uncle to come to our rescue. Sometimes we are trusting Him to use a friend or a relative to help us and because we see some possible channels, we stay hopeful. But what about those moments when there seem to be no means? This is when God wants us to trust Him more. The Psalmist says in Psalm 121:1-2
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
There are three kinds of defeat I’d like us to look at.
1. DEFEAT BY CHOICE
There are lots of people suffering from defeat because of the choices they made in life. There are people suffering from sexually transmitted diseases because they made certain choices, there are people who lost all they had because they made the choice to take uncalculated risks and invest in a business they aren’t sure of. There are people who are in the very wrong marriage today because they made the wrong choice of a partner amidst all red flags. There are people who have children suffering sickle cell anaemia because they made the choice not to let go. These things are defeat by choice.
2. DEFEAT BY BIRTH
Life is not fair in the sense that some people were born into greatness while some people were born into defeat. Defeat by birth is the worst kind of defeat! What do you say about a child who was born with sickle cell anaemia? It was not his or her choice but they were just born into it! There are people who are born into very poor homes, into struggles and life challenges. If our opinions were needed before we were born, some of us wouldn’t have chosen our Parents or even our countries but the truth is that as much as it was never our choice, we are born into our Parent’s struggles and for some people, it is a difficult thing to come out from.
We see a story in John 9:2-3 about a man who was born blind and people wondered he was blind because of his sins or perhaps that of his parents but Jesus clearly told us that it was never any fault of his! There are people suffering for choices they never made for themselves, there are people who had beautiful dreams but they can’t even actualize most of them because of where they are coming from. Unfortunately, many times we want to blame poor people for being poor and we want to blame sick people for not having more faith simply because we do not understand or see what these people saw! We may not have survived it either if we were born in their shoes.
3. DEFEAT BY ACCIDENT
Life again is not fair. A good life may suddenly get sour! I experienced it firsthand. When I was little, I grew up seeing my Dad’s various vehicles. We were the first people to usually pay school fees and Dad wanted me to study engineering in Israel as a degree course. But all of a sudden, Dad had business issues and life became miserable for several years that I couldn’t even go to the University. I was not born into it, I never made that choice but I still saw myself in that defeat!
How about people who were born healthy and all of a sudden they got infected with an airborne disease? What about people who were just walking on the road and got hit by the car? What about people who were infected with HIV by a sharp object or carelessness of a doctor or nurse without ever knowing what sex was? How about people who suddenly had cancer and their breast had to be cut off or someone who got burnt in a fire and she lost her facial beauty? These things are defeat by accident! They may have been born with opportunities, they may have made the right choices all their lives but they eventually found themselves in what they never bargained for.
It is important that you never laugh at people who are going through a moment of defeat because you may never have survived the least of what they survived if you were in their place. Why laugh at someone who was born with disfigured parts? Why laugh or blame someone who accidentally found him or herself in defeat? Why even think that you are better than them?
I may not know all the ways out of defeat, I may not even be able to offer very credible means out of defeat but I know one thing for sure. God feels our pain and our weaknesses. One great thing God has done for us is that He has given us the opportunity to become one with Him in the Spirit so that even if we depart from this earth in tears and pains, we can remain Spiritually alive, rejoicing in His presence and living in unending joy. God never created us to suffer but Adam’s mistake brought mishap to the earth. God didn’t cause those mishaps, it happened because Adam gave up the authority of this earth to Satan who established his own system (Luke 4:6), a system that is the reverse of what God wanted for us. This is why this present world will pass away.
However, we know that God is committed to helping us out of defeat. We have been saved from a spiritual defeat of sin! And we are continually being saved from earthly defeats. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:15
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin.”
If Jesus sympathizes with our human weaknesses, it means He also sympathizes with our ugly experiences. No wonder Jesus came working many miracles! He came across the blind man who was blamed for his blindness but Jesus saw the situation differently and when Jesus had opened his eyes people couldn’t recognize him and they argued among themselves saying “this surely isn’t that blind man! But it is another person who looks like him.” What baffles me is how they couldn’t recognize his own clothes and unkempt body because he had been there for so many years! I realized that the miracle he experienced brightened his face, changed his entire aura and confidence that people wouldn’t notice he was dirty! He replied to them in confidence saying “I am that blind man but now I can see!” (John 9:9)
Victory changes everything, it changes the aura and it clothes one with an unusual glory! What a joy it is to be delivered from defeat! If you have ever had a near-death experience, you will understand what it looks like to be saved from defeat. When all things have failed, when friends have taken a walk out of your life, when your spouse has given up on you and when the world seems to be turned upside down for you, there is one thing remaining! That is faith! Don’t let it wither, don’t let it fall! Keep working, keep walking and keep trusting God! He will deliver you from that defeat in the best way He deems it fit!
Yes, there are principles of making wealth and there are principles of living in good health. However, there are people who don’t have access to the basis of these principles, they don’t have any means! In these situations, I strongly believe that there is a way beyond those principles. While you may not have any strength remaining to fight through, I believe there is another kind of strength from above. The Bible says Psalms 144:1
“Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.”
Sometimes when we don’t know what to do, God comes to our rescue in bizarre ways. The woman with the issue of blood exhausted her means as the Bible reports that she spent all she had going to hospitals! This woman must have been a rich woman for her to have gone to the hospital for twelve years and her condition must have left her bankrupt because there was nothing remaining (Luke 8:43-48). She wasn’t born that way, she didn’t choose it for herself but she found herself in it!
When all things had failed her, she didn’t let her faith fail her! She said to herself “if only I can touch the hem of His garment…” She did and she got healed! There are people who don’t even have the strength to make such a move! The man who had infirmities couldn’t touch Jesus, he didn’t even request for Jesus, Jesus just came to him (John 5:1-15)! How about Lazarus? Not the friend of Jesus but the one who had leprosy; what about him? (Luke 16:19-31) While he didn’t experience earthly healing, he died in faith and things were different for him. I am not asking you never to believe for a breakthrough here on earth but I am saying that you never lose for trusting God to the end. He knows how to do it in His infinite wisdom. When He does it, people will not recognize you anymore.
I don’t know how much you trust God’s word, I don’t know how much you believe in God, I don’t know how well you believe in the reality of Jesus and the redemption that He brings. I don’t just believe these things because I was born into it, I would have walked away from it if that was all to it! I question a lot of things and I like things being logical but you see, I have experienced Jesus beyond emotions, I have had several encounters that proved God to me! One time in my life, I had laid hands on a sick and he got healed instantly! But I have also had several times when I experienced a certain illness and never got healed instantly. So, even if I don’t personally get healed instantly, I still trust Him! Even if things aren’t changing at the moment, I still trust Him! But I know that my trust in Him will always pay off! The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:7
“God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.”
In the face of defeat, I pray you to find the courage to stand strong. The beautiful thing is this; if you have ever experienced defeat, you are learning from defeat what many people cannot learn from the victory. Defeat may make you see life from the foundation, defeat makes you learn how not to fail again! Sometimes, defeat gives you another opportunity to try a more potent strategy! Some defeat happens so that you can achieve something greater than what you would have ever achieved. People who win may not be so prepared for a greater task ahead but people who experience failure are likely to summon more courage and get more prepared! It may not feel good for you but if it has happened to you, take advantage of it rather than staring in nothingness and doing nothing!
God bless you.
~ George O.N