– Seeing God’s hand lift you up, dust you off and motivate you to get with it – my own story – failure and pressing on.
– High School – failed test to be a SCUBA diver – Charlie horse cramps in my legs, had a horrible time with Algebra 2.
– College – Pre-med major but then flunked Chemistry, Biology, and Pre-Calculus – I effectively only had1 semester’s worth of credit after 1 year in college. Changed major to History.
– High school grades versus the 1st year of college, I had to play catch up the rest of my college career by taking a heavier load of classes and taking summer school at least once. Thankfully by the end of my college career my GPA was above 3.5.
My approach – Get up, get moving, don’t quit, work hard, stay after it, no matter what.
1. I’m not blaming the devil. I’m not calling the failures of my life an attack. I’m not calling it anything. It happened. God was with me in the middle of it. He is in charge of my life. I am not a pool ball bouncing around on the pool table of life, as randomly hit by cue ball and pool stick. To me it’s all about what you do with the failures. Do you let them knock you down and keep you down, or do you jump up, keep going and never quit? That’s the way I’m wired, that’s the way I do it.
Why is that? Because I believe that God is in charge of all that goes on in my life. He didn’t forget about me. He didn’t let me spin out of control and then later remember me, pick me up and dust me off.
2. One of the things that God planted in my soul when a young Christian is that He loves me, is for me, is working in the open and behind the scenes. Nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8). Plus His favor is on me. I have always held onto that.
3. I also believe that the will of God is not always cut and dry, black and white. Sometimes it takes time for things to unfold. Plus there are things that He wants us to learn as we walk through the circumstances of life.
I’m not a victim, I’m an overcomer! I’m not tossed about. When I am afraid or overwhelmed, I’ll trust in the Lord (Psalm 56). I have a sure foundation and strong deliverer! I may face resistance and setbacks but I know my Redeemer lives (Job)!
4. Perseverance and ‘stick tuitiveness’ are other traits that God put into my soul.
5. I have also seen how trial and error have been at work in my life. One of the things I learned as a computer programmer and early computer user is to keep at something until you figure it out and get it to work correctly. Sometimes the best way to learn is to make the mistakes, learn from them, try a different approach, get it to work and get the program installed or the printer or whatever. If you quit after the first try or second then you will be missing out on the success. If you can’t tackle the project one way, then try from a different angle. Sooner or later, you will get it and then you will feel a sense of satisfaction that you succeeded. Can you relate to this?
6. John Maxwell wrote a book entitled, ‘Failing Forward’. The title sums it all up. Let the failure you may be experiencing push you forward rather than tear you down or set you back.
7. Examples of failure and pressing on: Edison, Lincoln. Col. Sanders, Elvis, Mac Arthur – plus you and me.
8. Scripture to back up what I am saying: Remember He is my Lord. He is your Lord. A consequence of that is that He is in charge of everything in our lives.
a. Plus He is renewing/transforming me through the daily grind that I face (2 Corinthians 4:16)
b. Hardship, trouble, success – 2 Corinthians 6: 4 – 10. Too often as Americans we have this mistaken notion that the Christian life is supposed to be trouble free, hassle free. It is not.
c. Remember Acts 14:22 – ‘through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom Of God’.
d. Weak, strong, grace is sufficient, hardships – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10. The standard life of a New Testament Christian was to face hardships. It started with Jesus. Every one of the 12 disciples faced hardship. Every one of them died a martyr’s death except the apostle John, who died of old age.
e. Loss and gain – Philippians 3: 7,8
f. I press on – Philippians 3: 12 – 14
9. Some things I have learned from running track in high school and just running for exercise for 15 years after that. Now as an avid cyclist for over 20 years, I am learning those same things again.
a. Whether it was riding up the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia (I went through a mental process of only looking ahead 10 – 20 feet, just at the road right in front of me, rather than looking at the huge mountain in front of me. That helped as I rode up the mountain). Now I ride in the heat, I ride with a strong head wind, I ride while worn out, I ride while thirsty.
b. Don’t quit. Keep going. Just make it, keep pedaling. Break it down, and remember you can always stop, take a break, get some water, stretch, eat an energy snack. Then just get back on the bike, get moving and keep going.
c. Run the race with endurance, consider Jesus who suffered hostility – Hebrews 12:1 – 3
Run to win – you are a winner, you are on the winning team, the ‘winningest’ coach of all times is your coach!