COMEBACKS. WE LOVE a good comeback story, don’t we? Whether it’s the Cubs winning Game 7 of the World Series in 10 innings or the surfer who gets back on the board after being attacked by a shark…comebacks are the best. At least they are after the fact. It’s not so fun when you are in the middle of them though.
When I was thirteen, I loved dirt biking. Once I was out in the desert, riding with six other guys. They were older and had bigger, faster motorcycles than me, so I spent most of my time eating their dust. Then came my opportunity to pass them. They were slowing down, so I sped up to over fifty miles per hour. My plan was to rush through them even though I couldn’t see through the dust cloud. At the same moment I cleared the dust, everything became clear as to the reason they had slowed down. There were dirt mounds and valleys created by the wind everywhere, but it was too late for me to stop.
What happened next is still burned into my memory. My thought going into it was, Hey I’m going to get ahead. Then time seemed to slow to one milli-second at a time as everyone watched me hit every bump until finally crashing into the dirt. I had the breath knocked out of me and one of the guys told me, “The best way to get out of here is to get back on your bike and ride out. But if you can’t, we will find another way.”
My comeback wasn’t that I won that race through the desert, but that I got back on the bike. Sometimes when we crash, we give up. Those guys did me a huge favor, advising me to get right back on the bike, so I would not fear riding in the future. After catching my breath and a minute of rest, I rode out of the desert and continued riding even into adulthood. They praised me for getting back on and riding the motorcycle out. That incident has served as a metaphor for other moments in my life when I had to catch my breath and keep going.
For there to be a comeback there has to be failure or at least a falling behind. Our God is a huge fan of comebacks too! In fact, He is the ultimate Storyteller and Creator of comebacks.
All of us will face situations in which we feel like giving up and throwing in the towel. Not all challenges are the same and not everyone suffers the same challenges. However, it is remarkable that Christianity produces individuals who, rather than shrink away, respond to the challenges such as slander, threats, abuse, and injury with forgiveness. God created His people, each one, with the capability to respond like Christ to these difficult, hurtful, and sometimes horrific situations. It’s not that we always respond to every circumstance all the time in ways that reflect the grace of God in our lives. It’s that we are capable of responding to everything in a way that reflects our faith in God.
Discouragement following a failure or painful circumstance can cause us to vacillate, meaning we waver on taking any next steps forward. Feelings of discouragement damage our confidence and strip us of courage. The quickest way to get discouraged and disillusioned is to look at people and circumstances as the determining factors in your life.
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”
Trials produce people with spiritual stamina. Why is this true? Because Christ’s death produces people “who are being made holy” (Heb. 10:14). That’s why Christians were encouraged not to throw away their confidence. Well placed confidence may be one of the most valuable characteristics we have. Healthy leaders look back over life realistically only to discover that painful moments became doors of hope and greater dependence on God.
Never pass up an opportunity to re-examine your beliefs about failure and pain. Learn from them. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” We’ve probably all heard that famous maxim and if you are a parent, you have probably said that to your children as they learned to ride a bike, tied their shoes, didn’t make the team, or get into their first choice of college. We encourage others to get back up and try again, but do we really believe that failure isn’t final at the very core of our own beings? It’s easier said than done.
The truth is that people will fail you and circumstances will falter. You can depend on that. However, if we choose to believe that failure and pain are opportunities to learn, then failure and pain take on a whole new meaning. They have purpose. Pain gives us the opportunity to practice perseverance. Failure is never final for the one who learns to persevere.
Jim Morris knows a thing or two about comebacks. He’s also a man of faith. Jim “The Rookie” Morris, who was the inspiration for Disney’s movie The Rookie, endorses 70 Seconds: “In today’s way of thinking faith, love and contentment have disappeared because of a separation from God. In 70 Seconds, Dan Holland gives a blue print for life, love and leadership. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, 70 Seconds reminds us that there are hardships and missteps as seen through biblical history, but you can overcome by faith in Jesus. Dan conveys, in an incredible and understandable way, with God we can overcome and thrive.”
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