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Online Articles

Dealing With Failure

As you attempt to live the kind of life that would please God, have you ever been so discouraged over some failure that you just wanted to give up and quit trying?  Of course you have, and so have we all.  It is at times like this, that we need to remind ourselves that a Christian is not one who never stumbles, but one who gets up and starts walking again.

Consider the following experiences in the life of an aspiring politician:

                                            1831  -  failed in business

                                            1832  -  defeated for legislature

                                            1833  -  failed in business again

                                            1836  -  suffered a nervous breakdown

                                            1838  -  defeated for Speaker

                                            1840  -  defeated for Elector

                                            1843  -  defeated for Congress

                                            1848  -  defeated for Congress again

                                            1855  -  defeated for Senate

                                            1856  -  defeated for Vice President

                                            1858  -  defeated for Senate

Who was this man?  Well, he was a man who kept on trying, and in 1860 was finally elected as the president of the United States and went on to become what many consider to be one of the greatest presidents our country has ever had.  His name was Abraham Lincoln.

It is interesting to read what Lincoln once wrote about his ambition:

“Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition.  I can say that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow-men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.  How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition is yet to be developed.  I am young and unknown to many of you. I was born, and have ever remained, in the most humble walks of life. I have no wealthy or popular relations or friends to recommend me. My case is thrown exclusively upon the independent voters of the country, and if elected, they will have conferred a favor upon me for which 1 shall be unremitting in my labors to compensate. But, if the good people in their wisdom shall see fit to keep me in the background, I have been too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined.”

That last sentence speaks volumes about Lincoln’s acceptance of life’s setbacks without giving up.

The lesson in all of this is simply stated:  Whether in material matters or in the much more important spiritual affairs of our lives, ultimate success will only be achieved, if we are able to overcome the momentary failures and disappointments which beset us from time to time.  The apostle Paul exhorts us,  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  (Galatians 6:9)

-  Leonard White