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DEFEAT -  a stinging thought, a feeling of agony, a sense of shame and humiliation. We try to avoid defeat at all costs - even at the expense of honesty, integrity and moral conscience.

To go down in flames, to watch everything we've worked for go up in smoke, to burn our bridges to the future, to see a dream die in the heat of battle, all our images of defeat are terribly negative. It is very difficult to imagine anything positive coming out of defeat.

Yet we hear stories of people who have experienced amazing defeats only to rise to incredible heights as they have overcome failures which would destroy most of us.

And maybe that's the clue to our strong reactions to defeat. To be defeated is to be destroyed. To be a failure in any way is to threaten our very survival. Often we equate making a mistake with being a failure. We "blow it" and we are wiped out because we are afraid we will suffer utter and complete ruin.

So we become paralyzed. We either refuse to take risks out of fear of defeat or we live in a virtual phobia of being recognized as failures. The fear of defeat leads to denial of past mistakes and an inability to face the future with hope.

Jesus understood this fear when He said to His disciples,

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." [John 16:33]

Jesus said this BEFORE He suffered the greatest "defeat" of His earthly life. He gave this promise prior to being convicted and crucified, experiencing humiliation and pain like we can hardly imagine. In His defeat not only His survival but the survival of the entire human race was at stake!

Can we take heart? Can we, by God's grace, rise above our mistakes, failures and defeats to claim a victory made possible by Christ's overcoming the world of evil, sin and destruction?

It's a risk. It will be difficult to allow God's Spirit pick us up out of the dust and ashes of defeat and disgrace. Yet the potential of a new beginning and a fresh start - a "do over" - may make it worth the effort to turn our defeats into victories.

Until next weeks meditorial this is the Monty'man wishing Serenity for You!


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