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Rick Santorum and the Sugar Bowl

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Rick Santorum celebrates with his wife Karen Garver Santorum as they hear Iowa Caucus voting results during a private backstage party at a caucus rally in Johnston, Iowa, January 3, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/John Gress)

When do you win by losing?  Rick Santorum was at the back of the Republican presidential pack a week ago.  Last night he came within eight votes of winning the Iowa caucuses.  Mitt Romney, long considered the front-runner in the race to the nomination, received 30,015 votes while Santorum received 30,007.  “Game on,” Santorum told his supporters as the contest turns to New Hampshire.

I recently heard a radio announcer say, “If you haven’t quit, you haven’t failed.”  Here’s evidence that he’s right.

I get up at 5 AM to write this essay.  This morning I went outside and stared at the northern sky, but saw none of the Quadrantids meteor shower that made national headlines.  If Michigan had given up so easily, they would have lost last night’s Sugar Bowl.  They were outgained by Virginia Tech, 377-184 in total yards.  Yet they never quit and eventually won in overtime.

Winston Churchill’s most famous speech was delivered on October 29, 1941 to the students of his alma mater, the Harrow School.  At this point, Nazi Germany was peaking and the future for Great Britain looked grim.  After discussing recent events in the war effort, Churchill stated, “This is the lesson: Never give in.  Never give in.  Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in.”

Then he closed: “These are not dark days; these are great days–the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.”  His nation was facing extinction, but to Churchill the privilege of fighting for England was an honor granted by God.

What fight are you facing this morning?  Why has God allowed you to face this conflict?

Is it to teach you greater reliance on him?  Isaiah encouraged us to “trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4).  It’s always too soon to give up on him.  When David was delivered from his enemies, he counseled us to “taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

Is it to give you opportunity to persevere in your faith?  God promises, “Let us not become weary in well doing, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).  Here’s a verse that inspired me when I found it this morning: “Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God” (Isaiah 50:10).

I’d like to know: What have you learned about God in the dark?  However black the night, remember: If you haven’t quit, you haven’t failed.