When you hear the name “Abraham Lincoln”, what word comes to your mind to describe him? Maybe it’s one of these: Brave. Leader. Honest. Caring. But you know what word was used to describe Lincoln back in the early to mid 1800’s?
Loser. As in, ‘Nice try but you failed. Again.’
This was a man besieged by defeat and difficulty. Raised in poverty, he was still able to establish two different businesses. Both failed. The death of his fiancee, Anne Rutledge, drove him to a total nervous breakdown. He spent six months in bed.
And that’s not all. He ran for eight public offices including Congress, Speaker of the State Legislature, Senator and a Vice Presidential nomination. He lost each one. Don’t you think at some point he would have looked at all this loss and thought, “Is God trying to tell me something?”
But the faith he had in himself and his goals was so deep, he just kept getting up every single time he failed. Somehow he knew he was born to serve, and loss was not going to hold him back.
He had the gift of persistence.
It’s a quality that all creative, inventive people share. No new process, product or theory just ‘pops’ out of the brain fully formed. Ultimate success requires endless cycles of trial and error. Thank goodness for scientists who have the tenacity and patience to continue looking for solutions that often take years to find.
Failure doesn’t stop them, they just consider it another form of feedback.
Mr. Lincoln treated every rejection as a lesson, just like a careful scientist. Failure made him the most persistent, dogged, determined person on the planet. And you know what? That was exactly the kind of person the United States needed in 1860. God wasn’t about to send some weak, wimpy politician to face the horrors of the Civil War. He needed the person he chose and prepared for that job. Abraham Lincoln. The man who wouldn’t give up.
Kind of makes you wonder…
Have there been times in your life that have been dark and hard? Times when you felt lost, alone or defeated? Probably more than once. Our Father knows that you will experience loss and hardship, but he definitely doesn’t want you to be crushed by it. Oh no, he’s got big plans for you. Failure isn’t the end of your story.
Where we see loss, God sees opportunity. Our missteps become a powerful training ground in persistence. Every experience of falling and rising tempers our souls, allowing us to become the ‘polished arrow’ God needs us be.
Honestly, every person who has done anything of value has met failure. At the time, it seems like something to be mourned. But like every inventor and scientist learns, losses lead to new solutions and new life.
So remember. Falling isn’t failing. Rise up and try again. You need to be on your way. As Mr. Lincoln found out, there’s victory in your future…
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