Former NBC Camps student-athlete Jay Huff on April 8th helped the Virginia Cavaliers win the collegiate men’s basketball national championships in Minneapolis. This past season he was ranked as the #15 power forward in the nation. One year earlier, the Cavaliers were the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed in history. Painful defeat to ecstatic victory in one year!

We are reminded by Dietrich Bonhoeffer that “the greater the love, the greater the loss.” Yet, defeat often is the first step back to victory. Some life examples exhibiting this are:

  • Babies fall a hundred times before walking.
  • A child’s one-syllable words expand to vast vocabularies through much trial and error.
  • Olympic ice skaters endure fall after fall, perhaps devastating defeats, before victories.
  • In wartime, England was saved by King George VI and Sir Winston Churchill because of their courage to see opportunity in every difficulty, even after Nazi bombings. 

Indeed, a defeat can be a stepping stone to the future win. Robert Green Ingersoll has rightfully said: “The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.

Exploring all sports, there is not a single sport immune from the defeat to victory factor. Lou Gehrig, ironically, felt he loved to lose almost as much as he loved to win; the challenge of defeat motivated him as much as the thrill of victory.

The victory factor is enhanced by:

  • Entering every activity without a defeat concept.
  • Concentrating on strengths not weaknesses, and focusing on personal powers not problems.
  • Forgetting mediocrity, criticism and pessimism.
  • Realizing there is always another day to give your best; nothing seems to defeat the next sunrise.

Most exceptionally, the Gospels show us that the cross was not a defeat but became the greatest victory of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  How amazing that we as Christians can then be called “more than conquerors” through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37)!