Dealing With Defeat

God has said, “Never will I leave you;  never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b, NIV).

Defeat comes in many forms, including lost relationships, failed goals, betrayal, sickness, and unforeseen circumstances.

We dream of a three-point shot at the end of a basketball game, with the ball sailing through the net in victory, but instead, the ball clunks off the rim, the buzzer sounds, and we lose. Despite counseling and prayers, the divorce papers are signed. We invested and worked hard, but still—bankruptcy.

We all face defeat.

Only one thing will help, and that’s the presence of God. He will never leave us or forsake us.

A painful aspect of defeat is the change in relationships. Some we associated with because of success, others we considered friends, and some were co-workers with shared goals.

And when these relationships change, we lose a piece of the fabric of support to our souls.

Defeat brings a loss of presence with those on earth, but not with God. If we practice the presence of God as a discipline during those seasons of discouragement, God draws closer.

If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me (Psalm 139:8-10, NLT).

When experiencing defeat, what can we do?

First: Be humble.

Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you (James 4:7-8, NLT).

Often our defeat is rooted in our decisions. Humility keeps us from stumbling again and again over the same temptation. It also increases God’s presence. He will draw closer in our defeat.

Second: Don’t blame others.

Even if the defeat is rooted in another’s actions, always look at those who have offended through the eyes of Jesus. His presence allows us to see things through His perspective.  

Confronting the actions of others through grace and mercy will bring insight and wisdom for future victory.

Third: Rejoice always.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! (Philippians 4:4, NLT)

When I read that the Bible tells me to rejoice in defeat, it seems like rubbing salt into an incision. But salt also speeds healing. The presence of God is salt in our wounds—both painful and healing.

Remember—be humble, don’t blame others, and rejoice always.

How do we know if we are overcoming defeat? We shouldn’t deny pain, and discouragement is a part of healing. But victory comes through experiencing the presence of God.

When our defeats allow God to draw closer, our three-point shots still clunk off the rim sometimes, but we have hope that a momentary defeat is a precursor to future glory.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *