This headline caught my eye today: “Plastic surgery does make you look younger, study finds.” I hope they didn’t spend much money to reach such a shocking conclusion. Continuing to state the obvious, Reuters reports that “cold-water baths may soothe aches. And anyone who has tried to parent a teenager could have written this headline: “How much sleep do teens really need? Maybe less than you think.”
The obvious isn’t always so obvious. A teacher commented about Woodrow Wilson, “He is ten years old and is just beginning to read and write. He shows signs of improving, but you must not set your sights too high for him.” Abraham Lincoln’s elementary school teacher said of him, “He is very good with his studies, but he is a daydreamer and asks foolish questions.”
One of Amelia Earhart’s teachers was worried about her “interest in bugs and other crawling things and her dare-devil projects,” and hoped “we could channel her curiosity into a safe hobby.” A teacher said of young Albert Einstein, “Albert is a very poor student. He is mentally slow, unsociable, and is always day-dreaming. He is spoiling it for the rest of the class. It would be in the best interests of all if he were removed from school at once.”
How different would history be if God gave up on us as quickly as we give up on each other? Would Moses have died a fugitive in the wilderness? Would David’s adultery have ended his rule and legacy? Would Peter have forfeited his apostleship for his Maundy Thursday cowardice? Would Saul of Tarsus have been known as the Apostle Paul? Would the exiled Apostle John have given us the Revelation?
Where has discouragement been at work in your soul this week?
William Shakespeare warned that “our doubts are like traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” Thomas Edison, himself no stranger to failed experiments and personal challenges, observed that “many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Our Father is in the business of reclaiming and redeeming our failures and frustrations for his glory and our good. His statement to Paul is his promise to us: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
So don’t trust the world’s opinion of your aptitudes and capacities. The only opinion that matters is that of your Maker and King. Step out today by faith as you obey the last word you heard from him, knowing that you cannot measure the eternal significance of present faithfulness. Edmund Burke was right: “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” That’s because a little with God endures forever.