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The Thrill of Victory or the Agony of Defeat
by Linda Bewley
The Latest Word
Feburary 1999

     Webster says that ďvictoryĒ means ď1: the overcoming of an enemy or antagonist; 2: achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties.Ē  Websterís Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.
     God says ďBut thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus ChristĒ 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV).
     Itís that time of year again.  No, Iím not referring to the New Year.  Iím referring to the NFC playoffs and the approaching Super Bowl.  Yes, thatís right.  I like football.  If you know me very well at all, you know that Iím a San Francisco 49er fan.  I know, I know.  Only men are supposed to like football.  What can I say?  This is the ninetiesóitís allowed.
     Anyway, today the 49ers are in the first round of the playoffs.  They are going to play the Green Bay Packers.  Itís not a game I really look forward to watching, because the Packers have beat the Niners each time during their last five games.  Not a great record for my team.  But this year, the odds are actually in favor of San Francisco.  The paper says ď49ers by 3.Ē  Even with my limited understanding of the terminology, I know that this means the team can be expected to win by that many points.  Hmm, this may not be so bad after all.
     After I read the newspaper article, I wondered just for a moment what it might feel like to be the San Francisco quarterback, Steve Young.  Much of the teamís success or failure will depend on him.  What does he feel like today?  Is he encouraged because the Niners are favored to win? Or is there a part of him, even a small part that says heíd really rather not play at all because of the past record?  Are the Packers just too great a foe?  Of course, I canít even begin to guess what he feels.  I have a feeling that if it were me, I would not want to face another defeat and would rather not play.  However, given the competitive nature of professional football and all that is at stake, thatís probably not how Steve Young feels.  Can Steve Young lead his team to victory?  By the time you read this, it will be known.  But for the moment, all I can say is, GO 9ers!!!
     After I thought about Steve Young for a bit, my thoughts turned to my spiritual life.  How, you might ask, can I apply this to my walk with God?  Well, it was actually very easy.  Unlike Steve Young on the playing field, the real game, life, goes on every day.  Nonstop.  Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.  For some of us, the battle may appear too great at some points, and we would rather give up than have to face the agony of defeat yet again.  If Iím to be honest with you, there are areas of my life where my record is much worse than that of the 49ers against the Packers.  If I were to stop there, though, I would be in big trouble.
     Itís at this point that I am encouraged by one thingóGodís Word.  Godís Word reveals the outcome of the real game.  The Bible tells me that Godís people are not ďfavored to win.Ē  The Bible says that Jesus has already won and claimed victory for His people. Imagine a quarterback with a record like Jesus.  No incomplete passes, no interceptions.  No defense can take Him down.  Thereíll be no sacking this Leader.  Heís seen all the plays before and has overcome them all.  Heís always on target and always reaches His goal.  The Bible tells me that I can expect victory against odds or difficulties.  All because of One Person.  All I can say is, Go Jesus!!!

The Latest Word is a publication of the Downey-Florence Seventh-day Adventist Church

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