Casualties in the Victory?

I tend to think of victory as surviving unscathed, walking away with a trophy and energy left over, or remaining standing when all else have fallen. But evidently God has a different idea of victory.

I noticed today as I was reading in Deuteronomy 20 that while God promised His people victory over their enemies, He didn't promise them no casualties. Listen up:

"When you go out to battle against your enemies, 
and see horses and chariots and people
more numerous than you,
do not be afraid of them;
for the Lord your God is with you,
who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
So it shall be,
when you are on the verge of battle,
that the priest shall approach
and speak to the people.
And he shall say to them,
'Hear, O Israel:
Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies.
Do not let your heart faint,
do not be afraid,
and do not tremble or be terrified
because of them;
for the Lord your God is He who goes with you,
to fight for you against your enemies,
to save you.
(Deuteronomy 20:1-4)

Sounds good to me. Victory is assured. No need to fear; God is there to fight the battle for them, to save them from their enemies. But then...

Then the officers shall speak to the people,
saying: 'What man is there
who has built a new house 
and has not dedicated it?
Let him go and return to his house,
lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.
Also what man is there
who has planted a vineyard and has not eaten of it?
Let him go and return to his house,
lest he die in the battle and another man eat of it.
(Deuteronomy  20:5-6)

Can you believe that? God, via Moses, is basically guaranteeing that there will be casualties in this victorious battle! Ouch!

When God promises us victory He doesn't guarantee we will emerge without any wounds or battle scars. There may be a price to be paid for victory. When we fight for our marriage, battle for our family, take a stand for what is right, or take up the banner of Christ in the work place, there may be casualties in the process.

I think that's a little difficult for most of us Christians to wrap our brains around. We tend to think that when Christ calls us "onward Christian soldiers" that we'll be fighting with rubber swords or pillows. And while our enemy is not flesh and blood, but the spirits and principalities of this world, the wounds are not always of a spiritual nature. Sometimes there are hurt feelings, wounded pride, tongue lashings that cut with razor sharp penetration, and defections. All quite painful.

I don't know about you, but I don't like this suggestion. The premise that we may ultimately be victorious, but in the process suffer casualties. But I can trust my Commander. He is not only a mighty warrior; He is the lover of my soul. He is good. He is just. He is trustworthy.