When Defeat is Victory
You may have heard of the Christian paradoxes. This is the idea that Christianity is grounded in seeming contradictions, like the first shall be last, or you lose your life to gain life, or we are freed through becoming servants. (There are more of these and I’ll write about them later.)
But it’s not just the ideas or philosophy that are paradoxes. God’s actions are often paradoxical, too. He works in counterintuitive ways.
I noticed recently while studying my Bible that God sometimes uses the worst events, the things that look like defeat or disaster, to further His will or bring about victory. One of those instances is the persecution of the early church. After Stephen’s death in Acts 7, the story says, “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. . . . Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” Acts 8:1,4. What kind of evangelism plan is that? Satan may have planned the persecution, but God turned the tables on him and made it part of the masterplan for spreading the great news! What a reversal.
Same with a story 8 chapters later, when Paul and Silas are put in prison. What would seem to be a major setback resulted in the baptism of a whole household of people.
And the greatest example of all, the death of Jesus, showed God’s power at its height. The crucifixion of the son of God would seem to be Satan’s coup. How much worse can it get for the spiritual forces of light? But God took Satan’s seeming victory and turned it into the ultimate victory for us. Jesus had to die so he could resurrect. How else could Death have been defeated? But Satan never foresaw that.
I love a God that can take loss and make it gain, turn defeat to victory, and redeem what seems irredeemable. This week, when all seems lost, or there’s darkness all around, hold on. Sunday’s coming and the dead shall rise.