“I was proud, too proud to ask again. I did not understand you. I shut my eyes, and would not understand you, or do you justice. This is a recollection which ought to make me forgive every one sooner than myself. Six years of separation and suffering might have been spared. It is a sort of pain,…
““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 it then, 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.””
“The Magnificent Defeat” Frederick Buechner
I had flirted with Jesus for three years. A New Year’s night screening of “Ben Hur” convicted me of that. I became a seeker, devouring the Bible and everything else I could find about Jesus and Christianity. “The Magnificent Defeat” had sat on my shelf, unread. When I finally read these, the final two paragraphs of the book’s first sermon, I became a follower. Thank you, Jesus, for saying yes. And thank you, Fred Buechner, for following, however imperfectly, In His steps.
A Christian is not a person who believes in his head the teachings of the Bible. Satan believes in his head the teachings of the Bible! A Christian is a person who has died with Christ, whose stiff neck has been broken, whose brazen forehead has been shattered, whose stony heart has been crushed, whose pride has been slain, and whose life is now mastered by Jesus Christ.