Once a year, here in the U.K., an event is held in which people who have overcome major difficulties i.e. serious injury, injury in military conflict, notable acts of bravery etc., are rewarded for their courage and perseverance. They are usually welcomed to this event by members of The Royal Family and other notable people from various walks of life. Recognition is given to those who have persevered in the face of life changing circumstances, and have gone on to rebuild their lives through determination and courage. This reminded me of the following story:-
When he was seven years old, his family was forced out of their home on a legal technicality and he had to work to support them. At age nine, his mother died. At twenty two, he lost his job as a store clerk. He wanted to go to law school, but his education was not good enough. At twenty three, he was in debt to become a partner in a small store. At twenty six, his business partner died, leaving him with a huge debt that took years to repay. At twenty eight, after courting a girl for four years, he asked her to marry him but she said no. At thirty seven, on his third attempt, he was elected to Congress, but two years later, he failed to be re-elected. At forty one, his four year old son died. At forty five, he ran for Senate and lost. At forty seven, he failed as the Vice Presidential candidate. At forty nine, he ran for the Senate again and lost. At fifty one, he was elected President of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln, a man many consider the greatest leader his country ever had. He persevered!
The Apostle Paul, the author of several of the books contained in the New Testament, faced major hurdles and challenges in his life including terms of imprisonment, beatings, shipwreck, opposition, and the daily responsibility of caring for the Churches he had planted. There were times when he almost gave up, but he learned the secret of perseverance. Towards the end of his life, he was able to write the following words:-
‘I FOCUS ON THIS ONE THING, FORGETTING THE PAST AND LOOKING FORWARD
TO WHAT LIES AHEAD, I PRESS ON TO REACH THE END OF THE RACE AND RECEIVE
THE PRIZE FOR WHICH GOD, THROUGH CHRIST JESUS, IS CALLING ME’.
No challenge or circumstance in life is too big for our Lord Jesus Christ. He has promised His peace and provision to all who receive Him as Lord and Saviour, and to all who embrace His forgiveness!