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Successful Failures

"Samuel saw Eliab and thought 'surely the Lord's anointed [for king] stands here before the Lord.' But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'"1

Today's society places tremendous emphasis on physical appearance not only for women, but also (even if to a lesser degree) for men. If, for example, two men of equal qualifications apply for the same job, the tallest man is most likely to be chosen for the position.

Because of his amazing courage in the Battle of Lodi in 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte became known as "the little corporal." He was only five-feet-two-inches tall!

William Wilberforce was another small man who apparently never enjoyed good health. For twenty years he was under a doctor's care. More than any other person he was responsible for stopping the British slave trade. He was known for his eloquence and in 1780 entered the British Parliament at age 21. Six years later he joined Thomas Clarkson, the anti-slave campaigner, and began his fight against slavery even though the bill to end the slave trade didn't become law until 1807—twenty-one years later.

On one occasion James Boswell, the great Scottish author went to hear Wilberforce speak. Afterward he said, "I saw what seemed to be a mere shrimp …  but as I listened, he grew and grew till the shrimp became a whale."

Often in life, many of the greatest achievements have been accomplished by persons who have had a serious setback, a major limitation or handicap, or a significant failure of one kind or another, but have overcome their defect to rise above their circumstances.

If you feel you have a shortcoming, be encouraged, the people God uses are ordinary people who make themselves available.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you use ordinary people to accomplish your work on earth. I am available. Please make me usable, and use me to be a part of what you are doing in the world today. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 1 Samuel 16:6-7 (NIV).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.