When Loss Is GainBy Michael Temple
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“It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.” I’ve discovered that this warm and fuzzy quote is most often used by those who are in the “winner’s circle” of life, and they need to extol the virtues of giving an effort. I’ve seen some of those same people lose and I’ve noticed something peculiar; the virtues of “how you play the game” do not seem to get mentioned when they’re on the short end of the stick.
Life isn’t very kind to losers. There’s rarely a place at the table for them, and if there was, they would probably be sitting on the hard back folding chair that was taken out of the closet to accommodate them. I struggle with that reality, not because I don’t recognize that it exists but because its existence has far exceeded any check marks in the “win column” of my experiences. Losing is hard, and if there is anything that can cause us to doubt ourselves, our motives, or our direction…it is loss.
“So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe” (John 19:1-2, NKJV).
“Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away” (John 19:16, NKJV).
It is during the times when I lose that I most need to see that the appearance of losing isn’t nearly as important as the end game. Jesus didn’t look like a winner on that day long ago when He gave up His life for me. He was mocked, spit on, abused, and hung out to die on a cross that was supposed to be used on criminals. To many, He must have looked like the consummate loser.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NKJV).
Jesus was willing to look like a loser so that He could provide me with an opportunity to live eternally. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t glamorous, and it didn’t look like winning…but I’m thankful that He chose it. His purpose was for His loss to be my gain!