Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2: 14)
God wins His greatest victories through apparent defeats. Very often the enemy seems to triumph for a season, and God allows it. But then He comes in and upsets the work of the enemy, overthrows the apparent victory, and as the Bible says, “frustrates the ways of the wicked” (Ps. 146: 9). Consequently, He gives us a much greater victory than we would have known had He not allowed the enemy seemingly to triumph in the first place.
The story of the three Hebrew young men who were thrown into the fiery furnace is a familiar one. There was an apparent victory for the enemy. It looked as if the servants of the living God were going to suffer a terrible defeat. We have all been in situations where it seemed as though we were defeated, and the enemy rejoiced. We can only imagine what a complete defeat this appeared to be for Daniel’s friends. They were thrown into the terrible flames while their enemies watched to see them burn. Yet the enemy was greatly astonished to see them walking around in the fire, enjoying themselves. Then King Nebuchadnezzar told them to come out of the fire. The enemy “crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them . . . for no other god can save in this way” (Dan. 3: 27, 29).
This apparent defeat resulted in a miraculous victory.
Suppose these three men had lost their faith and courage and had complained, saying, “Why didn’t God keep us out of the furnace!” They would have been burned, and God would not have been glorified. If there is a great trial in your life today, do not acknowledge it as a defeat. Instead, continue by faith to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8: 37), and a glorious victory will soon be apparent. May we learn that in all the difficult places God takes us, He is giving us opportunities to exercise our faith in Him that will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His name.
~from Life of Praise
Defeat may serve as well as victory
To shake the soul and let the glory out.
When the great oak is straining in the wind,
The limbs drink in new beauty, and the trunk
Sends down a deeper root on the windward side.
Only the soul that knows the mighty grief
Can know the mighty rapture. Sorrows come
To stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 38-39). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.