Do you want to quit? Throw in the towel? Give up? Do you feel like a failure? Have you made so many past mistakes you don’t believe in any future successes?
One of the greatest American presidents, Abraham Lincoln, had every reason to stay in the shadows and give up. Born into poverty, he faced defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, failed in business…twice, and suffered a nervous breakdown. But Lincoln never…gave…up. Here’s a sketch of Lincoln’s journey to the White House:
1816 – His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818 – His mother died.
1831 – Failed in business.
1832 – Ran for state legislature - lost.
1832 – Also lost his job - wanted to go to law school but couldn't get in.
1833 – 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.
1834 – Ran for state legislature again - won.
1835 – Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
1836 – Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
1838 – Sought to become speaker of the state legislature - defeated.
1840 – Sought to become elector - defeated.
1843 – Ran for Congress - lost.
1846 – Ran for Congress again - this time he won - went to Washington and did a good job.
1848 – Ran for re-election to Congress - lost.
1849 – Sought the job of land officer in his home state - rejected.
1854 – Ran for Senate of the United States - lost.
1856 – Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party's national convention - get less than 100 votes.
1858 – Ran for U.S. Senate again - again he lost.
1860 – Elected president of the United States.
Like you, I’ve faced many setbacks, discouragements, and failures. The question is not, WILL you face defeat and disappointment? That’s part of the human experience. The question is, WHAT will you do when you find yourself in the valley of defeat?
Someone once said, “The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.” By God’s grace, the strength of His Spirit, and the support of a loving community, you can stand back up and start again.
In a paramount passage on not giving up, the Apostle 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. . . . So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16).
Through Jesus Christ, you can turn defeat into deliverance, setbacks into success, and failure into future growth. Just ask good old Abe Lincoln.