Chances are you are dealing with a setback of some sort right now. Perhaps it’s trouble at work, the death of a loved one, relational strife, or financial difficulty…just to name a few of myriad possibilities. While you cannot undo what’s already occurred, you can choose how–and with whom–you will move forward through and beyond the testing.
It is my prayer that you move forward with the confidence that our heavenly Father offers.
“Look straight ahead with honest confidence, don’t hang your head in shame.” Proverbs 4:25
I did not handle setbacks very well earlier in my faith walk. Far too often I would fall into the trap of believing that my setbacks somehow reflected who I was. When things “fell apart,” voices in my head would speak lies like, “You’re no good” or “You’ve failed again.” That would give entry for fear to invade my soul even though the Bible tells us no less than 365 times to remove fear from our life. It was during this period that I fully surrendered my life to God and launched the Love God Fear Nothing ministry.
There is no connection between our setbacks on earth and our worth in Christ. None. Setbacks will occur despite our best laid plans and herculean efforts to keep everything together. It’s that simple.
Check out this story about setbacks from one of America’s greatest leaders and a man of deep Christian faith:
He failed in business as a young man. The next year he was defeated for state legislator. He tried another business a year after that and failed. His fiancee died the next year. A year later he had a nervous breakdown. After seven debilitating years he ran for Congress and was defeated. Five years after that he made another bid for a House seat and was defeated, again. After a seven-year break, he ran for the U.S. Senate and lost. The next year he ran for Vice President and lost. Three years later he ran for the Senate again and was defeated. Just 12 months from that devastating loss, a man named Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States.
The “Lincoln Lesson” for me is that the setbacks we encounter in life—no matter how many or how devastating—are not to be our focal point. The primary focus must be our reliance on God and what we can learn from the experience and take forward.
God often allows setbacks in life not as punishment but to draw our attention back to him and his promises. It is far too easy to dwell on a failure and give residence to the voices that are not from God. These negative voices are in direct opposition of what God tells us. The enemy wants us to wallow in shame; God wants us to claim his promises and to move forward with confidence.
I am constantly asking what voices I need to quiet in my mind and what areas I need to “stay at it like Lincoln” so God has a chance to do his good and perfect work.