HEARTLIGHTTwo Minute Meditations

Real Audio







Suggested Internal Links
The Agony of Victory and the Thrill of Defeat, by Phil Ware

    Millions of people will tune in Sunday night to watch Super Bowl XXXII. Commercials will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Teams will battle it out with their all. At the end, one team will be victorious. They will be crowned Super Bowl Champions and receive the Lombardi trophy. They will have bragging rights for a few short months. Then summer workouts and two-a-days begin again. The NFL pre-season starts and everybody will we trying to dethrone them.

    While I am a football fan, when I think about the Super Bowl, it’s all a little bit silly—grown men beating each other up trying to win a game so they can feel accomplished. I’m not surprised that one of the few Super Bowl quotes I recall comes from Duane Thomas. He was the rushing star of Super Bowl VI for the Dallas Cowboys. He said, “If it’s the ultimate, why are they playing it again next year?”

Everything rides on the outcome. Everything!
    There’s only one Super Bowl for your life. It’s only played once. It’s either a win or a loss. There’s no assurance it will last four quarters. There’s no two minute warning to let you know it’s about to end. There’s no second chance or “waiting till next year." It’s either a win or loss. Everything rides on the outcome. Everything!

    Tough thing is, we’re really not up to the competition. He’s tougher, stronger, meaner, and much more experienced than we are. He’s won a whole lot more than he’s lost. He’s even got the home field advantage. So when Paul talks about victory and our lives not being lived in vain, I take notice. I’ve been to a lot of funerals. Death is no respecter of age... wealth... beauty... intelligence... race... gender... or...

    At our funeral—after the kind words, the tears, the hugs, and the flowers—they’re going to throw dirt in our face, walk away, drive home and eat chicken. They may be sad, but life will go on. The sun will still shine, the seasons will still come and go, the children will still grow, and people will still die. They may even miss us a long time. But what matters most is not the memories we’ve left with them—although they can be important. What matters most is the Lord we’ve left them to join. He is the victory. He assures resurrection. He guarantees reunion. He insures that our life matters. He snatches the stinger out of Satan's dreaded scorpion and insures that Satan cannot use his ultimate evil to destroy us—all he can do with death is to send us home and give us victory. We will lose our battle to keep our body alive, but this agony ultimately leads to our victory, for there is an eternal thrill waiting at the end of our physical defeat. It’s the ultimate victory—there won’t be another to play after this one, is won.

    Sooner or later, we’ll all have to come to grips with whether or not we really believe God’s promises in Jesus Christ are true. If we do truly believe, life will never be the same. Death will never carry quite the same pain. Many in our Heartlight family have shared an incredible journey of faith with Gail, Randy, Marta, and Rachel Fenter. Gail experienced the agony of victory and the thrill of defeat when her physical struggle with cancer ended December 27, 1997 shortly before midnight. Her victory was an agonizing journey through one of the most vicious and unconquered types of brain cancer. The trek was hard. Hard for Gail. Hard on Randy, Marta and Rachel. But the journey was a testimony of a family whose “faith lasts longer and is stronger” than they could have imagined. They have discovered first hand that love IS stronger than death.

    There was a very real thrill at the defeat of Gail’s human body when it could no longer hold on to her life. For those who knew her and loved her, there was an excruciating sense of loss overwhelmed with the conviction that this separation is not forever. Faith turns this nightmare into hopeful dreaming and the end of her physical life leaves us all filled with anticipation. Gail did what we all hope someday to do: She was victorious at life. Her Super Bowl won, she doesn’t have to defend her crown, just share it with her King.


HEARTLIGHT® Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-98, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
May be reprinted and reused for non-commercial purposes only if copyright credits are appropriately displayed.
HEARTLIGHT is a registered service mark of Heartlight, Inc.