Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish essayist, historian and philosopher, had just finished a massive undertaking; a manuscript on the French Revolution. He labored with intensity on the three-part study. Carlyle believed it was his greatest work. He was extremely proud.
When he completed the manuscript, Carlyle sent it to his friend John Stuart Mill. He wanted Mill to read it. Days later, Mill’s maid mistook the manuscript for trash and burned it in a fire.
As Carlyle learned of this horrible mistake, he sank into a deep depression. Years of labor lost; Carlyle wondered how he ever could muster the energy to write again.
It was purported that thereafter, as Carlyle was walking down the street, he saw a stone mason faithfully building a long, high wall. He stood watching the mason build the wall one brick at a time. Filled with inspiration from watching the mason, Carlyle stepped out in pure faith and resolved to just write one page a day. And another page the next day.
Before long, Carlyle rewrote the entire manuscript from memory, achieving what he described as a book that came “direct and flamingly from the heart.” And the end result was better than the first time.
Accordingly, regardless of past mistakes or injustice, and with peace in our hearts, let us take life a day at a time and, with a dream in your heart, try again. Don’t ever think that you are finished because you had a setback, made a mistake or a situation did not go the way you thought it would. Often, God has handfuls of blessings for our future, yet we are afraid to persist and take steps ahead, because we are stuck in the hurts of the past or held back by disappointments, regrets or limitations. Yet, God knows the circumstances you are now facing, and He wants to turn your disappointments into divine reappointments. Thus, persevere!
God will work things together for His glory and our good, for He knows the past and the future and has the perfect, appointed time to bring about our glorious dreams, plans and aspirations. So, don’t give up or give in to desperation. And the end result will be better than the first.
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9)
For, it doesn’t matter how or where you start off, it is how you finish that counts! I recall the biblical story about David and Goliath. Everyone was afraid of Goliath, because he seemed invincible. When other people ran away in fear, young David didn’t concede. Instead, David took the needed action, in faith, regardless of limitations, uncertainties or discouraging conditions.
David and Goliath confronted each other: huge Goliath with his armor and shield, and a small shepherd boy, David, with only a slingshot and a pouch of stones. But David was not distracted, as he kept his focus on God. He was confident and believed God would give him the grace and the strength to defeat the giant. David then drew near the Philistine and said to him, “You come to me with sword, with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. ... This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand … and all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. ... It is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47)
As Goliath moved in to destroy David, David quickly ran to meet him. He reached into his pouch and slung one of his stones at Goliath’s head. That small stone found its way through a hole in Goliath’s armor, hitting his forehead, and the giant fell to the ground.
So, let’s not retreat and run away from challenges. Alternatively, let’s step forth and go toward our challenges, as David did, and our giants (or in our case, our stumbling blocks) will fall. Commit to “finishing what you started.” God has prepared the way for you, and He will help you overcome what is in your path.
Months ago, I heard a story about a celebrated pianist who was scheduled to perform at an elegant theater. Seated close to the stage were a couple and their 6-year-old son. The boy took piano lessons, and his parents wanted to take him to hear the performance in the hope he would be encouraged to practice daily.
As the audience waited in anticipation for the concert to begin, the parents were quietly conversing with a couple seated next to them. Tired of waiting, the active boy began to shuffle in his seat. Then, the boy stood up and he curiously ran up the side stairs and onto the stage. The boy scurried right to the black grand piano and, flushed with excitement, he sat down on the stool. And before the parents could even say a word, the boy placed his little hands on the black and white keys and began to play, “Chopsticks.” Some people in the audience gasped aloud, as they heard the child playing the piano. And backstage the maestro overheard the commotion, and quickly, he rushed toward the stage. The maestro sat beside the boy and began to play a duet with him, creating a lovely melody harmonizing with the boy’s “Chopsticks.” And as they continued to play the song together, the maestro whispered in the boy’s ear, “Keep going. Don’t stop. Keep going. Don’t quit.”
The audience was in awe, as the maestro took the forgettable and turned it into something unforgettable. And that’s what God can do, for He is whispering in your ear now, “Keep going. Don’t stop. Keep going. Don’t quit.” Friends, regardless of what comes your way, do not get down and discouraged. Instead, don’t give up and look up! God’s plan for you is good. He wants to do great things for you, with you, by you, and through you.
God is not finished with you yet! And He is going to surpass anything that you’ve seen before.