Good food for thought from my friend, Ron McClung:
Walter Johnson was a record-setting pitcher who played his entire baseball career for the Washington Senators from 1907 to 1927. I read somewhere about a major league player who faced Johnson for the first time when the great pitcher was in his prime. According to the story, the first pitch came blazing across the plate and the umpire yelled, "Strike One!" The second pitch came burning into the catcher's mitt to another called strike. The batter turned on his heel and headed for the dugout. He told the umpire to keep the third strike because he had seen enough.
It makes an amusing story, but it's not a great way to approach life. Yes, we have all faced the giants of life at times when we felt overwhelmed, but when you give up, you never know what victories you might have achieved.
The apostle Paul said, "Therefore we do not lose heart" (2 Corinthians 4:16NIV). But what were the conditions under which he said that? Was he sipping lemonade under the shade of a palm tree on some balmy island?
Actually, he had experienced enough stress for a lifetime. Just a little earlier, he said, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed" (verses 8-9).
How could he be so upbeat in the midst of such searing circumstances? He said, "We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence" (verse
So even if life hands us its worst, we dare to trust in God who has promised to bring us through every situation. And if we do not survive, we will live again, as he promised.
Samuel Rutherford, a minister in Anwoth, Scotland, went through a time of personal peril. Yet he told his congregation, "All the windows of my soul are closed, except the skylight." In other words, when the outlook turned dismal, he turned to the up-look, knowing that with God, all things are possible. Our Lord provides endurance for every situation.
Discouragement is the darkroom where fears and failures are developed. But rather than giving in to discouragement, we choose to trust in God. As Paul said, "We do not lose heart."