–Victory from Seeming Defeat
by David Brandt Berg
The Lord lets us go through tests sometimes. He can even make it appear as if He is being a little too hard on us, so that we’re tempted to think, “How could God let us suffer like this? How can He let that sort of thing happen?” The Devil is always around to try to make you doubt and even criticize the Lord, like he did with Job.
God said about Job, “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). But the Devil challenged God, “Well, You just let me work him over and we’ll see!” So God allowed the Devil to put Job through many tests and afflictions. Job lost his family, his wealth, and his health—and that’s when his sin came to the fore. The Devil had been right about that. Job’s sin was self-righteousness, self-perfection. His sin was that he didn’t think that he had any sin, and he couldn’t understand why God was doing all this to him.
It wasn’t until he hit rock bottom, sitting in a heap of ashes, scraping boils from his body with a piece of broken pottery, that he finally confessed he wasn’t as righteous as he had thought he was—and then God delivered him! Job learned his lesson, the Devil gave up, and God gave Job a new family, restored his health, and made him even more prosperous than before.
Satan almost triumphed, but the Lord won a great victory out of what had looked like a terrible defeat in the making. When things couldn’t have been going worse for Job and his future couldn’t have looked darker, he declared, “Though [God] slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). That’s one of the most glorious testimonies in the Bible of sustaining faith in the face of great suffering, defeat, and discouragement.
Someone once said, “God allows some things to happen to make you humble, other things to keep you humble, and yet others to make sure you’re still humble.” While some experiences may be painful at the time, they can be seen as God’s “intolerable compliment”—an indication that He loves us (Hebrews 12:6).
One thing is certain: God knows what He’s doing. So whenever we don’t understand why He allows something to happen, we just have to wrap our questions in a little bundle of faith and tuck it away till some day He reveals why. I’ve had some things happen to me that I couldn’t understand, except that they kept me humble and eventually furthered the Lord’s plan for my life.
We don’t always know right away why God did or allowed certain things to happen, and in some cases we may not know till we get to Heaven. I have a whole lot of questions that I’m going ask when I get there. We’ve just got to trust Him anyhow!
There are a lot of things that we don’t understand now. Sometimes we’re even ashamed that we don’t understand, and we try to explain things to others that we don’t understand completely ourselves. We think that we ought to know the answers, when sometimes the best thing we can do is be honest and say, “I don’t know!”
One of the great questions of this life is why God allows seemingly bad things to happen to people, and specifically to us. We probably won’t know the complete answer to that till we get to Heaven. We can see part of the answer and understand some of the reasons, but we won’t fully comprehend till we get up there and see the whole picture. I think that’s going to be part of our continuing education in the afterlife—learning why. Like Paul wrote: “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV).
All we know is God! We don’t know all the whys and wherefores, but we do know that the Lord loves us and He knows best. And if we don’t understand something now, we will later.
In the meantime, we’ve got to trust God no matter what, even if we don’t understand why some things happen. Maybe that’s why God lets some things happen in our lives that we don’t understand, just to test our faith and see if we’ll still trust Him anyhow!
The name of the game is faith and trust—faith to trust God. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him! Though I have had a tough time and I don’t know why, yet will I trust Him! Though He let this or that happen, yet will I trust Him! Though He lets an affliction beset me or my loved ones, I’ve still got to trust Him.”
God loves to see if you’ve got real faith and you’re going to trust Him no matter what. That’s the greatest victory of all, when you seem to be defeated and you still trust the Lord. That must please the Lord more than anything—that even when it looks like you are lost and defeated, you still trust Him, like Job. Faith in the face of disaster or agony, faith in the face of death!
Look at all the martyrs and saints in God’s Hall of Fame in Hebrews, chapter 11! It says, “These all died in faith” (Hebrews 11:13). That’s the greatest thing that could be said of them. They died without receiving all that God had promised them—some were even martyred—but they never lost faith; they never lost heart. They died trusting God.
That’s a greater test than Job had to go through. He was willing to die when he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). He thought he was going to die, but he didn’t. But the martyrs did! That’s the ultimate test, if you can die trusting the Lord. Death is the final test of faith. If you die still trusting, that’s the final victory! That’s the greatest faith of all!
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades [grave], where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). The sting of death is sin, and the victory of the grave is to keep you dead. But the marvel of true, godly righteousness is faith. Faith is the only righteousness, and it results in victory over the grave, resurrection!
God bless and keep you trusting even through death. You’ll die as you lived, trusting God! (More Than Conquerors, A Mountain Streams Book)
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