Friday, March 14, 2008

Is the road getting rough to travel? -- Have you decided to throw in the towel?

President's day is viewed by some as just another day off. Although gone for now, that day will come around again next year. Still, it is fitting that we set aside a day to honor a handful of 43 men. These 43 special men were selected and elected by a process and privilege, which we in the United States enjoy. That process says, we want this one man (or woman) to represent us as a nation. One individual with power and authority to lead and guide our country in many areas of decisions.

Over the years, we have been blessed with godly men who took charge to keep this nation strong and free. Presidents who were not afraid to call upon God for guidance and wisdom, and to use that wisdom even when it went against the grain of opposition. When I think of these men who took charge of this nation, one such man comes into mind more than any other.

A man whose odds of becoming president were so great, you wonder why he even kept trying. He was born into a very poor family. At 7 years of age, his family was forced out of their home and this boy had to work to support them. At age 9, this shy backwards boy's mother died. At age 22, he lost his job as a store clerk. He wanted to attend law school, but his education simply was not good enough. At age 23, he went into debt to be a partner in a store, but 3 years later, his partner died leaving him with a huge debt. At age 28, a 4-year romantic relationship with a young lady ended when she turned down his marriage proposal. Still, an earlier courtship ended in heartache with her death. At age 37, after a third try, he finally became elected to congress, but 2 years later failed to win reelection. At the same time, it was observed that he had what many today would call a nervous breakdown. At age 41, adding to the heartaches of an already unhappy marriage, his 4 year old son died. At age 42, he was rejected for land officer. At age 45, he ran for the Senate and lost. At age 47, He was defeated for Vice Presidential nominee. At age 49, he again ran for the Senate and lost.

Can you imagine how he was probably criticized, misunderstood, had periods of depression, and snubbed by his colleagues - certainly he was not the envy of his peers. Nevertheless, in spite of all his heartaches and setbacks, he did not let it deter him. He kept going forward, not looking back. Thankfully, he did not give up, because at age 51, he was elected to the highest office of President of the United States.

You have probably guessed who this man was. Defeated repeatedly by personal, business and political failures, yet he never gave up. Born in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky on February 12, 1809, next year marks the 200th anniversary of his birth. Shot in the head by an assassin's bullet on Good Friday, he died the next day on April 15, 1865.

Abraham Lincoln, who became perhaps the most revered of all Presidents, never gave up when circumstances were against him. He kept his focus on the good until he won the prize. There is a prize awaiting you too. Paul the Apostle declared in the Epistle of Philippians - His desire is to know Jesus and counted all things as dung that he might win Christ. "Forgetting those things, which are behind, I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Just as Abraham Lincoln did not give up at 7 years old, 9 years old, 22, 23, 28, 37, 41, 42, 47, 49 years old amidst failures and heartaches and attained the prize of President; and, as Paul pressed on until he reached his mark of his high calling; we too must set our sights toward and endeavor to persevere in our quest of reaching the highest office that anyone could ever reach - not as President of the United States, but as kings and priest in the house of our God in Christ Jesus forever.

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