IBM, Gettysburg, and hope

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IBM, Gettysburg, and hope

October 26, 2011 -

Persistence is making the news this morning.

Virginia Rometty has been named IBM’s next CEO.  She is the first female CEO in the company’s 100-year history, and has been with IBM for 30 years.

Bree Boyce is profiled on this morning’s CNN website with the headline: “From 234 pounds to the Miss America pageant.”  The South Carolina native lost 112 pounds through steady dieting and exercise.

Moammar Gadhafi has been buried in an unmarked desert grave, eight months after rebels began efforts to remove the dictator from office.  The “Arab Spring” continues, as Tunisia is forming an interim government and new constitution.

Fortitude is on my mind this morning after returning from three days studying the Battle of Gettysburg.  A very dear friend invited me to join the group; Col. Cole Kingseed, retired Chief of Military History at West Point, was our instructor.  For homework I read the classic Civil War novel, Killer Angels, but nothing could have prepared me for the experience of walking the famous battlefield.

Some 53,000 Americans were killed, injured, or captured during the bloodiest three days in our nation’s history.  Standing where Pickett’s Charge began and where it ended, I was awed by the courage manifested on both sides of this tragic conflict.

So was Abraham Lincoln.  Mr. Lincoln lost more elections than he won.  He suffered severe, incapacitating and occasionally suicidal depression.  Before he was elected president in 1860, who would have predicted that he would become perhaps our greatest chief executive?  When he finished his two-minute Gettysburg Address, few in the crowd could have guessed that it would become the most famous speech in American history.

Why is persistence essential to success?  Because the old maxim is true: Quitters never win; winners never quit.  What is the secret to persistence?  Hope.  If you believe that future rewards outweigh present sacrifice, you’ll pay the price to persevere: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Where has discouragement found you this morning?  Make Paul’s conviction yours: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).  This is the promise, and the invitation, of God.

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