In 1894, a sixteen-year-old found this note from his rhetoric teacher at Harrow, in England, attached to his report card: “A conspicuous lack of success.” The young man kept on trying and went on to become one of the most famous speakers of the twentieth century. His name was Winston Churchill.
In 1902, an aspiring twenty-eight-year-old writer received a rejection letter from the poetry editor of The Atlantic Monthly. Returned, with a batch of poems he had sent, was this blunt note: “Our magazine has no room for your vigorous verse.” He kept on trying, however, and went on to see his work published. The poet’s name was Robert Frost.
In 1905, the University of Bern turned down a Ph.D. dissertation as being fanciful and irrelevant. The young physics student, who wrote the dissertation, kept on trying and went on to develop some of his ideas into widely accepted theories. His name was Albert Einstein.
I was once asked, “What would it take to make you quit?” This mentor went on to explain his line of thought. He said, “The obstacle that stops your progress, will seem to you, to be greater than the goal on which you are focused.”
Look around you. Many are losing heart and checking out on God. Many who still attend church checked out on God a long time ago. I hear such things as, “evangelism is a thing of the past” and “Christian disciplines such as prayer, bible study, witnessing and giving are nothing more that twenty-first century legalisms.” What!?!
Job’s response to trying times is: Don’t stop trying! He was saying, “Don’t let rejection shake your resolve and dim your goals. Keep pushing forward, keeping your eyes firmly fixed on the prize.”
Job gave two principles that would be necessary for strong hands in trying times. First of all, stay close. He said, “…hold on his way.” In our day, there is a name for those who do not stay close to the Lord. We call them “casualties.” You will not make it without Him.
A second principle revealed by Job in insuring strong hands in trying times is to stay clean. He said, “…and those with clean hands become stronger.” Holiness and Christian disciplines are absolutely necessary for success in our day.
We must hold one another accountable. Will you stay close and clean? Will you live with “stronger hands” in these days of weaker wills and perishing men?