I remember watching programs produced by ABC Wide World of Sports. The announcer would talk of "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat." I prefer the thrill of victory, but the reality is I have drank deep at the fountain of defeat.
Wendell Phillips a lawyer who walked away from a lucrative practice to participate in abolitionist activity was certainly acquainted with numerous defeats along the way. Mr. Phillips stated: "What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step to something better."
When defeats are turned into learning experience at some point, victory will be snatched from the jaws of defeat. Tragically the opposite is the wresting of defeat from the jaws of victory. I am very accomplished at wresting.
The importance of learning from defeat, mistakes, even dalliance in sin is acknowledged in all areas of life. Paul Harvey taught this truth with his famous line when asked the secret to his success, "When I fall down I get up."
After his conversion to Christ, Paul attempted to convert Jews in the city of Damascus. He was such a failure that other disciples had to help him get out of town as recorded in Acts 9:25 "Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket." Paul then went to Jerusalem where Barnabas helped him get going again. He learned from defeat.