“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
— Galatians 6:9
When you think of Abraham Lincoln, what qualities come to your mind? Compassion? Concern for the disenfranchised? Humor? While all those characteristics apply, I think if we really knew Lincoln, we’d find that the overriding quality of his character was perseverance.
Believe it or not, Abraham Lincoln was a failure. In almost every area of his life, he experienced defeat. As a young man, Lincoln ran for the state legislature and lost overwhelmingly. He went into business and failed completely. He became engaged to a beautiful, loving girl, but she died. Lincoln then married a woman who was a continual burden to him, a thorn in his flesh. Soon thereafter he decided to run for Congress but lost decidedly. After that, he tried to get an appointment to the U.S. Land Office, but he was turned down. He then decided to run for the United States Senate, but his competition pounded him into the ground. After all these defeats, he decided to become vice president of the United States. He was, as we know, defeated once again.
Abraham Lincoln lost at nearly everything he tried until he ran for and won the presidency of the United States. He persevered despite overwhelming discouragement and defeat, and because he persisted, he became one of the greatest leaders this world has ever known. Despite all the losses he suffered, Lincoln was never a loser because he never quit.
When we hear that litany of the losses endured by such an upstanding man and respectable leader, how can we not feel just a little ashamed at the number of times we’ve thrown in the towel? What a great reminder that we need never give up, because God has already promised we will triumph if we’ve entrusted our lives to Him.
Have you experienced defeat recently? My friend, keep persevering. Never give up, but instead rely on God’s promise to achieve victory in your life.