Hang in there

I’ve usually lived my life by the rules of three. Three strikes and you’re out or third time’s a charm. I now realize how that no longer fits into God’s plan for my life. I need to now practice the rules of p, patience and persistence.

A beautiful sister in Christ, (you know who you are, Sandy) gave me an idea about being the light and inspiring others via the story of the light bulb. The story is a true test about hanging in there!

Thomas Edison was determined to invent a commercial light bulb. He knew the value of such a simple item and what it would mean to everyone who used it. After 9,000 failed attempts, his friends and family began to ask him if he was ready to give up. A newspaper reporter famously asked him if he felt like a failure to which he replied, “Why would I feel like a failure? I now know definitely over 9,000 ways an electric light bulb will not work.” (from Today in the Word by Moody Bible Institute)

But just having a working light bulb would be of no use to anyone without an entire electrical system in place to power them. He modeled his system after the gas light systems used in large cities at that time. It included central stations, underground conductors, meters, and lamp fixtures. He also has to design an electrical generator and the network it would power. He planned to sell power to balance the load at his central station during the day when fewer lights were being used. He had to develop screw sockets to hold his bulbs in the fixtures and fuses to prevent electrical overloads and fires.

At his death in 1931 he had 1,093 US patents in his name. Fun fact, with the upcoming election season in the United States, his first patent granted on June 1, 1869 was for an electric vote recorder.

Edison faced challenges before the light bulb. His teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything. He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.”

Other famous people have also had failures but have hung in there.

Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.

Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express, received a “C” on his college paper detailing his idea for a reliable overnight delivery service.

An expert said of Vince Lombardi, the famous football coach, “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” Lombardi would later write, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.

Charles Schultz, the creator of the cartoon Peanuts, had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his high school yearbook staff. Oh, and Walt Disney wouldn’t hire him.

Twelve publishers rejected J.K. Rowling’s book about a boy wizard named Harry Potter before she got it published.

When Pablo Casals reached 95, a young reporter asked him, “Mr. Casals, you are 95 and the greatest cellist that ever lived Why do you still practice six hours a day?” Mr. Casals replied, “ Because I think I’m making progress.”

There is a great story about perseverance in the Bible. It starts in 1 Kings 17 when Elijah said to Ahab that it would not rain for the next three years. After a long time in the third year, The word of the LORD came to Elijah and told him to present himself to Ahab, and God would send rain on the land. Verse 41 in 1 Kings 18, Elijah tells Ahab to go, eat and drink for there was the sound of a heavy rain. Elijah climbed up to Mount Carmel and bent to the ground putting his face between his knees. He then told his servant to go look to the see for the promised rain. The servant came back and reported nothing coming. He was directed seven times to go back and look. The seventh time the servant reported a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising up from the sea. The sky grew black with clouds, a heavy wind rose, and a heavy rain came.

There is a pattern here. Listen to God first. Bow down before God, in prayer, on your knees. Be persistent and don’t give up, and God will come through with help us in our difficulties. The difficulties may remain, but God will be with us, helping us have His peace and strength to grow through this, regardless of the outcome.

“I drew you to myself from the ends of the earth and called you from its farthest corner. I say to you: ‘You are my servant; I have chosen you. I have not rejected you! Do not yield to fear, for I am always near. Never turn your gaze from me, for I am your faithful God. I will infuse your with my strength and help you in every situation. I will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.’ ‘I grip your hand and won’t let you go!’ I whisper to you: ‘Don’t be afraid; I’m here to help you!” (Isa. 41:9-10, 13 [TPT])

With that encouragement from God, I serve in obedience, knowing that nothing I do for the Lord is wasted. Even if I blow it and fail 9,000 times like Edison, He is powerful enough to turn it into something good, if I just hang in there. Hang in there with me my friends, it is totally worth all the effort!

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