victory seldom seems as sweet as was dreamed of, the victor can certainly
be proud and say, "Hey, I won! I must have done everything OK, so what's
to worry about." After all, why should the one who succeeds to expectations
or nearly to the goal or maybe even overshoots the goal bother to stop
and analyze? Obviously they have done pretty nearly the right thing to
have successfully achieved the goal. "I must be pretty smart, I'm just
But when one loses a hard run race, or
some other failure occurs, there tends to be the cry, "Oh, God, What did
I do wrong? How did I fail? What can I do to turn defeat into victory."
And it is in this careful analysis of failure that most of the greatest
victories and successes come.
Seldom if ever do you see a successful
person doing a thorough analysis of why he or she succeeded, but if they
failed to achieve their high goals and aspirations, there will often be
a time of self analysis, assessment and study. "Why did I fail? What happened?"
Every attempt will be made to assure that the next time is not a failure
also. This is true whether one is running a footrace, running a business
or attempting a successful marriage.
But let a person fail and he or she begins
thinking over what he might have done that would have brought success.
Friends, business associates or teammates are often critical and faultfinding
-- even fellow Christians or fellow ministers may be critical and find
much fault. This actually may be a blessing because it provides insights
which may be helpful as well as discouragement which causes still more
self-analysis. Really, even deciding on the right solutions is hardly enough
until the correct actions as determined by this close study have been tested
and brought to a successful completion. Merely figuring out what went wrong
is not enough. We then begin to practice, to exercise the right action.
Some people, especially truly dedicated
Christians, are gifted in the ability to analyze problems in their own
lives and reach right conclusions the first or second time. Others require
several failures and some never do reach the right conclusions.
We all want to be winners and dislike losing,
but history is full of instances in which a great
|golf or chess champion
lost many times before making that great historic win. Many a famous author
wrote his work and sent it to publisher after publisher before one, perhaps
grudgingly finally accepted and published the work which immediately became
a runaway best seller. Many are the stories of runners who failed badly
in the first, second and many other races in which they competed. The same
is true of every contest, competition and business enterprise. The loser
cried out within himself or herself and asked, "Why did I fail? What did
I do wrong? What could I have done better? Did I have impossible expectations?
Was I properly prepared? Did I have some wrong information?"
A racing automobile must be prepared in
certain ways if it is to win a race. It is in the correct assessment of
the reasons for failure to win the last race, to perform as expected in
time trials, lesser races, or even in the beginning laps of the big race
that enables the mechanics and driver to make the adjustments to the car
and driving habits that will result in a win the next try.
Our real victory comes when we determine,
ÒI can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians
4:13). When Emmanuel, God with us" is on the throne of our lives, when
we allow Him to be captain of our ship, we can know that He knows the passage
over the rocks and through the shallows.
We may liken the trials and tests in our
lives to stones. We may leave them laying about in a haphazard way on the
racetrack of our lives and if we don't watch our step carefully, they may
trip us and cause us to fall. But if we take those same stones and use
them we can build a house or use them as stepping stones to cross a stream.
Trials and temptations in our lives may either trip us up and cause us
to stumble and fall, or we may overcome them through prayer determining
that we will serve the Lord no matter what comes our way and that becomes
a point of overcoming which builds our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and
His power to protect, lead and guide us. Satan may roar and rage against
us, but Jesus is our rock on which we can stand firm.