When you think you’ve experienced more challenges than you can handle and your failures are crying for you to quit, consider this man.
In ‘16 His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
In ‘18 His mother died.
In ‘31 Failed in business.
In ‘32 Ran for state legislature, but lost.
In ‘33 Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
In ‘34 Ran for state legislature again and won.
In ‘35 Was engaged to be married, but his sweetheart died and left him broken-hearted
In ‘36 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
In ‘38 Sought to become speaker of the state legislature, but was defeated.
In ‘43 Ran for Congress and lost.
In ‘46 Ran for Congress again ,but his time he won.
In ‘48 Ran for re-election to Congress, but lost
In ‘49 Sought the job of land officer in his home state, but was rejected.
In ‘54 Ran for Senate of the United States , and lost.
In ‘56 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention and received less than 100 votes.
‘58 Ran for U.S. Senate again and again he lost.
But on the date, May 18, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was nominated by the Republican National Convention as his party’s candidate for President of the United States. He won. And the rest is history.
Lincoln, who was born into poverty and suffered more defeats than victories in his life, is one of the greatest secular examples of persistence, perseverance and dogged determination.
His story reminds me of a great man of God who also suffered many set backs, defeats and challenges. When Saul of Tarsus was converted and became the Apostle Paul, he was not initially well received by the brethren, whom he had persecuted.
Pau was beaten. Stoned. And Imprisoned for preaching Christ. Four times he encountered ship wreck. False teachers unfairly brought unfounded accusations against him. He endured a physical malady that he called “a thorn in the flesh. And he bore the sting of rejection by some who left him.
Yet, in the one of the great and encouraging verses of the Bible, Paul writes, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:8-9).
God’s grace was sufficient for Paul. He provided the apostle strength to meet any challenge, endure each assault, and overcome every affliction.
What problem are you facing? What pain are you suffering? What adversity are you enduring? What hurt are your feeling? What wound are you nursing?
Has failure followed you at every turn? Have defeats become more common that victories? And have you felt like quitting?
Don’t despair. Both secular and sacred history is filled with encouraging stories of triumph over trial. Of strength overcoming weakness. Of conquest instead of surrender. Of accomplishment over obstacles.
Today is your day. Make a new beginning. Trust God. Stay faithful. Be strong. And don’t give in to discouragement.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman