Julie’s heart was crushed. After playing in her first high school volleyball game, her team had lost. She didn’t know how to take it, and so she did just like any other high school girl would have done under the circumstances — she bawled her heart out.

I saw this, and I put a stop to it immediately. My daughter was not going to walk around sobbing every time she lost a game. I told her, “You’d better dry it up right now. If you don’t, you’re not going to ever play again.” Julie decided she would stop crying.

Now I could have said, “It’s okay, Honey. You tried your best. They weren’t playing fair, anyway.” But that would have only taught her that it was okay to feel sorry for herself and have someone else make excuses for her. That’s not reality. The fact is life is full of losses, some from our mistakes, and some from the mistakes of others. If it wasn’t, then Romans 8:28 wouldn’t be in the Bible. I wanted to teach Julie that knowing how to lose is just as important as knowing how to win. It’s not worth crying over something that can’t cry back to you. Read that again, and think about it.

Sometimes the best things in life come through losses — the lost job, the death of a friend or family member, the loss of a home due to foreclosure, or even the loss of your health. Learn to accept these losses, as painful as they may be. God can (and always does) work them out for your good — so don’t give up.

No matter how many losses you have, you aren’t defeated until you give up. When you accept each loss as part of God’s plan, you become a winner. That’s the difference between a loss and defeat.

A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits. — President Richard Nixon

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder