The Magnificent Defeat

Here is an excerpt from the closing of a message by Frederick Buechner entitled “The Magnificent Defeat”. The message is based on the story of Jacob’s fight by the river Jabbok found in Genesis 32:22-31.

Power, success, happiness, as the world knows them, are his who will fight for them hard enough; but peace, love, joy, are only from God. And God is the enemy whom Jacob fought there by the river, of course, and whom in one way or another we all of us fight-God, the beloved enemy. Our enemy because, before giving us everything, he demands of us everything; before giving us life, he demands our lives-our selves, our wills, our treasure.

Will we give them, you and I? I do not know. Only remember the last glimpse that we have of Jacob, limping home against the great conflagration of the dawn. Remember Jesus of Nazareth, staggering on broken feet out of the tomb toward the Resurrection, bearing on his body the proud insignia of the defeat which is victory, the magnificent defeat of the human soul at the hands of God.

7 thoughts on “The Magnificent Defeat”

  1. wow. reminds me of crap i was in earlier this year, and the very thing i’m desperately asking god for.thanks for sharing.

  2. Man this seems like a really interesting book and such a worth-while read. I tend to agree with this dude on a lot of the points he is making about God and the universe. I think the cross signaled a defeat of God that was triumphant, and that same cross we have to bare.

  3. Isn’t it funny how entries such as this often get so few comments? This has been one of the most thought provoking things I have read on this sight to date. Thank you ,Steve, for reminding us that there are many ideas to be passionate about. “We do not change the world by discourse or thought. We change ourselves and submerge ourselves in the world who needs us” Henry Walter Smith

  4. My brother and I saw Rob Bell this past week on his “Everything is Spiritual” tour. (I’ll be blogging about it later…)He stressed the concept that the Kingdom of God operates on a different dimension than we do. In fact, it almost seems like the opposite of our way (ie- the response to violence is forgiveness and peace… the path to increase is to give it all away…etc).Christ’s “magnificent defeat” sure seems other-worldly. I don’t quite understand it. But even though I may not “get it”, I’m glad He did it…

  5. Steve, Thanks for the reminder…A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the writing of Buechner. I was very impressed them but his writing seems even more appropriate for this time in my life. I’m on my way to the library to get “Telling the Truth: the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale”. Thanks!

  6. I have gotten into more than one argument with my father over what matters most. He wants me to get a job where I’ll make lots of money. I want to get a job serving others. It is sad really.

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