“Most people achieved their greatest success one step beyond what looked like their greatest failure.” (Dr. Keith Johnson)
No one has ever started to do something wise without first feeling remorse and regret for not having started sooner. Such sorrow can be a problem when it comes to starting the work of preparation for the future. You may have become convinced only recently of your need to ready yourself and your family for coming disaster. You may feel like the guy in the old V8 Juice commercial, who popped himself in the forehead and exclaimed, “I could have had a V8!” You could have started preparing months or years ago! Grieving over your past failures is fine at the beginning. That’s an important ingredient in what the Bible calls repentance. But you can’t just wallow in your remorse. You have to build on your failures.
As Dr. Johnson asserts above, success almost always comes on the heels of failure. Great men, like Thomas Edison, could attest to the truth of this proverb. How many failed experiments did he perform before he invented the light bulb? Failures are no reason to quit (or refuse to start at all). They are the precursors to success.
So acknowledge your failure to start preparing sooner and put it behind you. And start preparing for success today. It’s never too late as long as it is called “Today”. No one can prepare completely or perfectly. But the one who has just started to prepare will always be ahead of the one who never starts at all.
This Day in Church History
April 22, 1987 – J. Edwin Orr, Renowned evangelist and historian of revivals, dies.
J Edwin Orr died unexpectedly on this day, April 22, 1987 in Asheville, North Carolina. The 73-year-old historian was scheduled to speak at a Southern Baptist convention in the city. Historians aren’t always the speakers you expect to attract large audiences. But Orr’s expertise was in high demand with churches. For many years an evangelist, he was also a historian of revival–the spiritual renewal of churches. He amassed fascinating anecdotes and worthwhile details. Chief among his findings was the revivals always are preceded by seasons of fervent prayer.
Orr also taught that Christians must repent if revival is to flower. “Little by little, the church loses its grip on essential things, becomes a social club, goes to sleep or flies off at a tangent. All over the world we find sleeping churches, and all round them are the gospel-starved masses. Instead of performing the first thing of importance, evangelizing the masses, they are engaged in a bewildering variety of pastimes–anything but the real thing.”