Summary: never give up, no matter the obstacles

My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Today or any other day of the year may have been the final day of your divorce, the day you were rejected, the day you lost your job, or the day you lost a loved one; but remember, as difficult as it is, today is the first day of the rest of your life. It was a day of new beginnings.

So, if you haven't done your grieving, be sure to do it now. Face, accept, and resolve your pain; get up even if you have to drag yourself up, and go on.

To do this effectively, there are several valuable qualities you need to have

1. Develop the right attitude. Attitude is what makes the difference between a painful experience becoming a failure or a success. You can let the loss leave you timid and afraid to step out again for fear of being hurt, or you can determine that your failure will be your teacher. Remember that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude."

2. Use your failures/losses to enrich your life. Take stock of your life and move forward to a greater level of growth and maturity.

3. Know what your purpose in life is. The more clearly you know what you want to do, - the less likely disappointments and failures will set you back.

If your eye is on your goal, if you have a singleness of purpose, nothing will stop you getting to where you plan and choose to go.

Remember that failure or disappointment is an event, not a person. Because you may have failed in your marriage or job, in another relationship, or other situation, doesn't mean that you are a failure as a person.

Not at all.

Realize that the only real failure is not to try, or not to keep on trying, or not to get up one more time than you fall or get knocked down. The important thing is to learn from your past, invest it as an opportunity to grow, and to move ahead.

Give God a chance. If you feel as if you have failed or believe you've done wrong, ask Him to forgive you--and be sure to forgive yourself. Then turn your failure into a stepping-stone toward a better you. When you have been hurt, have fallen and failed, or are afraid you become a stronger person. When you bring these to God for his healing, his strength is made perfect through your weakness.

You may think you are not worthy. In fact, there were very few men or women in the Bible who were used of God who didn't have a personal struggle or challenge of one kind or another. Moses and Mary weren't the only ones who didn't feel qualified for the work God was calling them to do!

Think about these people from the Bible that were used by God:

? Moses stuttered.

? John and Mark was rejected by Paul.

? Timothy had ulcers.

? Hosea's wife was a prostitute.

? Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.

? Jacob lied.

? David had an affair.

? Solomon had too many wives and concubines.

? Jesus was too poor and wasn't schooled in the right religious institutions.

? Abraham and Sarah were too old.

? David was too young.

? Peter was impulsive.

? John had a temper.

? Naomi was a widow.

? Paul was a murderer, as was Moses.

? Jonah ran from God.

? Gideon and Thomas both doubted.

? Jeremiah was depressed.

? Elijah was burned out.

? Martha worried too much.

? Matthew was a despised tax-gatherer.

? Noah had a drinking problem.

These people may have had more weaknesses and handicaps than most of us. What made the difference? They turned to God (or he called them) and they accomplished more than anyone would have thought. They wisely said, "It may be true that I have been a victim in the past, but if I remain one, I am now a willing volunteer." No matter what our background was. When we trust our lives daily to God, and work through our past hurts to resolution, we can and do have hope for the future. It's up to us what we do about the present.

Let us pray:

Dear God, help us to realize, as an adult, that while I wasn't responsible for our background, we are totally responsible for what we do about resolving all past hurts, no matter what happens to us, whether it is our fault or that of another, please help us not to become bitter but better by using it as an opportunity to help us to grow and become the person you envision us to be. Lead us always on the pathway of truth and responsibility. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH; 8 July 2012

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