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Never Give In
Never stop trying; how easy it sounds, and yet how hard it is. How many times have you felt discouraged, that your life was a complete waste? That all your efforts were in vain? How many times have people ignored you and your ideas, telling you it wasn't possible? How many times have you stopped trying? Why is it that we try? Why do we try to achieve things, try out new ideas? Why do we try to get ahead in a seemingly normal world? Why do we try to explore new lands, sail new seas, invent new things? Why do we keep trying even if we encounter setbacks that discourage us? Why are we always trying to reach the top of the hill? Why do we persist when people all around us are telling us not too? Why is it that we keep trying?
We try because we can. We try because if we didn't, this world would not improve at all, and according to the second law of thermodynamics, it would get worse and worse until everything died. If you were to think for just a moment about what this world would be like if people hadn't kept trying; think of all the great explorers, scientists, the people we look up too and admire. What is the one thing that you can find common among all of them? Well, just about all of them failed at least once before they succeeded.
How many times did Christopher Columbus try to gather the support he needed? How many thousands of times did Thomas Edison fail before creating any of his inventions? What about the countless men who have died trying to fly before the Wright brothers? How many scraps of paper did Albert Einstein crumple up and throw away before he came up with his theory of relativity? How much time and effort has been spent on ideas, theories, or notions that didn't pan out? What about the countless men and women whose deaths have been seemingly in vain? What is the legacy they left behind? How do we remember those who had the courage to fail? What can we learn from their mistakes, and for some of them, their eventual successes?
For the answer to that, we can turn to Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. In chapter 9, verse 24-25, he is talking about running the good race, and pressing on to the prize. We are all runners in that race that he speaks of, but when most people read this, they think it's a nice analogy that refers to our lifestyle as Christians. But what if it is more? What if it is more like a megathon? One race with eternity at the end of it, and thousands of smaller races, each with their own reward? What if Paul meant us to consider everything we do as a race? Are we running the good race? Are we striving for the prize? Do we surge ahead, only to get discouraged, lose heart, and drop out? What kind of life would we have if we just stopped racing because we didn't get the prize every single time?
In His own way, even Jesus shows us how important this is. Imagine what it would have been like if He had given up on us the first time we rebelled? What would have happened if he had not redeemed us after the fall in the Garden of Eden? Can you imagine that? How times have we failed Him, and how many times has He forgiven us? How many more times will we require forgiveness? Also, if we are to glorify God through our lives, how can we do that if we stop after we fail? How are we allowing Him to shine through us and be an example for those around us if we only try something once, and then give it up for lost?
So what can we learn from the millions and billions of people that have come before us? How can we apply what Paul is saying to our everyday lives? What is the one thing that has driven people on, and has built the world we live in today? What will continue to power this entire planet long after we are gone? It is the driving power of perseverance--the essence of life within us, endowed to us by our Creator, and motivated by the various prizes we hope to achieve; the force that has given us all our great buildings, canals, cities, and even the very civilizations in which we live.
So what is the underlying message of this? To quote former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, "never give in." If you look at any great person, in their history there is at least one failure. To every success story, there is at least one matching and opposite story of failure. To the movie Meet the Robinson's, "From failure you learn, from success… not so much."
My exhortation to you is to keep going. Don't get caught in the past or in your failures. Learn from your mistakes and move on to the next thing so you can keep going. Physics says that it's easier to move an object already in motion than it is to start moving a stationary object. In the same way, if you slow down, and let your failures stop you, it's a lot harder to get started again. On the flip side of that, if you keep moving and don't slow down at all, it is much easier. Also, help others keep moving. Everyone fails, but everyone doesn't need to fail in the same way. Don't be ashamed of your failures; instead, help others to understand why you failed, and hopefully, how you succeeded in the end! If there is some major failure that you have gotten over, maybe try to help others overcome it as well. When God gives us blessings, we should turn around and bless those around us.
So, all that having been said, keep trying, never give in, and never, under any circumstances, stop trying.
“Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School
British politician (1874 - 1965)