I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. ~ John 16:33
As human beings we are constantly competing to win or gain something. Whether it is a game, a job, a new possession or relationship we are continuously attempting to reach a goal whatever it may be for us at any particular moment in our lives. Competition is good, having goals are important but losing often strengthens our will and our resolve.
Some losses are greater than others, watching your favorite sports team lose year-after-year pales in comparison to losing your job. Some losses we have no control over and other kinds of losses we had influence in the circumstances and situations that contributed to the outcome. Either way, losing doesn’t feel very good, because we have been created to be champions and conquerors, following in the footsteps of Jesus. Christ promises us in the Book of Revelation, “I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on His throne (Rev. 3:21 NABRE).
God hardwired our nature to share in His glory but because of the fall, we, members of the Church Militant, are born onto a battlefield and experience both victory and defeat throughout our lives. The pain of falling leaves scars that remind us of our mistakes and help us not to repeat the same failures. Not all losses are trivial, we lose things of Super Bowl-sized importance like a career path or advancement, friends betray our trust or a spouse abandons their vow of marriage. While losses of this magnitude may shake our lives to the core, if we are still, listen and trust God He will slowly bind the wounds and place His wisdom in our hearts; defeat teaches us lessons victory cannot.
A Franciscan Religious Brother told me, “only when your heart has stopped beating, has God chosen where you will spend eternity.” So, no matter how lopsided the score of the game of life is against you currently - if your heart is beating you have a chance to turn it around and be victorious.
The key to victory is tenacity. Satan wants you to shrink instead of standing back up after you have lost. That is the one and only way he can win. Satan got exactly what he wanted in the crucifixion, Jesus' death. The resurrection however was the devil’s worst nightmare because Jesus destroyed death, his most coveted possession.
The crucifix reminds us Jesus willingly subjected Himself to death for our salvation, and that we as His followers take up our cross, will experience pain, and suffer losses we never considered or conceived (cf Matthew 16:24). It is precisely at that moment of defeat you are faced with a challenge, do you ask the Father to roll away the stone keeping you in the grave and walk out? Or do just accept defeat and surrender to death?