Sports Illustrated writer Jeannette Bruce once spent two-and-a-half years taking judo lessons, progressing steadily through the entire spectrum of self-defense “belts.”
“On one rainy night,” she said, “it all seemed worthwhile. The thing every judo student dreams of happened to me. I was walking down Sixth Avenue about 9:00 p.m. when a man stepped out of a dark doorway and tried to snatch my purse. How prepared I should have been, how ready to smash him to the pavement with a flourishing foot sweep!
“Instead … I hit him over the head with my umbrella!”
I suppose most of us can identify with Jeanette in some way. We get a great opportunity to do something worthwhile and blow it by doing or saying something stupid. Or when faced with temptation, we know how to resist the enemy because we know all the right Bible verses to fend for ourselves. However, instead of putting on the “whole armor of God,” we seek to overcome in our own strength–and fail miserably.
However, when we do fail, the important thing is to get up, learn from our mistakes, and go on having learned to put our trust in God in every situation in which we find ourselves.
Cripple him, and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington. Raise him in abject poverty, and you have an Abraham Lincoln. Strike him down in infantile paralysis, and he becomes Franklin Roosevelt. Deafen him, and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven. Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have a Booker T. Washington, a Marian Anderson, a George Washington Carver. . . . Call him a slow learner; “retarded,” and write him off an uneducable, and you have an Albert Einstein.
The Wright boys resolved that they would make a machine that would fly. The citizens of Dayton called them “the crazy Wright brothers,” but they kept on with their experiments. The first contraptions they made did not fly, but they tried again and again.
Samuel Morse was told by the United States Congress that they would just as soon give money to build a railway line to the moon as to vote funds for him to build an experimental line over which he expected to send messages. Morse had made some resolutions, and in 1844 he sent over the wires the message, “What Hath God Wrought!”
Fulton resolved that he would propel a boat by steam, and he did.
Ford resolved that he would make a horseless carriage, and he succeeded.
Westinghouse made some resolutions or he would never have invented the air brake. The promoters of the first railroad made some resolutions, too, or the railway would not have gone through to the West.
Carey was a man of faith and courage, and although the heads of the church tried to discourage the young man, he determined that he would carry the gospel to the ends of the entire earth. Many have resolved and broken their resolutions. Thousands have started and have fallen out by the way. But not many people have really gotten anywhere who did not set a goal for themselves and make a start toward that destination. Not many have done anything worth while without a determination to do. Says C. L. Paddock
Don’t give up. Trust in God, learn the lessons and move forward.