Victory, winning the game, conquering the enemy and overcoming obstacles when the odds are stacked against you. Here we are in the fall and that means the start of lots of things. Fall sports are back and high school football teams battle it out for four quarters at a time to win bragging rights for the season. It’s the start of hunting season for several birds, and here in the farming and ranching world it is the start of harvest season. All summer long many of us have spent hours in the hay field chasing bales and stockpiling feedstuffs for the winter. Fall means that we are one step closer to weaning calves and taking them to market, picking corn and putting it in the bin, and celebrating our victory by another season ending.
Victory is sweet, it’s like a cool glass of lemonade on a hot day, or a big scoop of ice cream on a piece of homemade pie. What makes that victory so sweet? I think victory is sweet because it takes work, dedication and sacrifice. Victory is not easily attained. When two football teams meet on Friday night under the lights, they didn’t just wake up on Friday morning and decide that they were going to play ball that night. They did two a day practices in the summer heat. They trained in the winter in the weight room so that they could get stronger than their opponents. Victory takes work. The more work that is put in, the sweeter the victory will be.
Victory is sweet because it silences the doubters. Victory shows dedication, it is evidence of the hard work, time spent and sacrifices made. It proves that a team or a person gave it all that they had and came home winners. Coaches will often tell their players to leave it all on the field, don’t have anything left in the tank when the final whistle blows. To know the sweetness of victory, you must understand the agony of defeat. Defeat is utter collapse, failure, and complete destruction. The thing is victory usually comes after defeat. Defeat is the catalyst for victory to become possible. Without defeat, there is no victory.
There is an old hymn that was the favorite of my wife’s grandfather. Victory in Jesus has a new meaning in our household. See there was a man who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that the entire world would have victory over death one day. He was defeated, beaten down and mocked. He died and then rose again three days later. He won the victory, paved the way that we might live with him again one day. Grandpa believed in that victory, that gift that he accepted even though someone else had put in the work and done the sacrifice. As I write this tonight, I think of the fond memories I have of him and how he set an example for the rest of us to follow. Victory at the hands of man is sweet, but I believe it pales in comparison to that of victory in Jesus.
That’s all for this time. As you take in the fall sports, stick around after the game and you might see something special. Opposing players coming together on the middle of the field to give thanks to God above for both victory and defeat. Keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire and God bless.
Meinzer is a fourth-generation rancher raised on the southeastern plains of Colorado. He and his family live and ranch in Oshkosh, Neb.