Part of my love for history is reading the stories of great leaders--men and women who were bold enough to take hold of a dream and move to the front of the crowd while leading others to follow that dream. Usually this falls under the category of military leaders for me. From early military geniuses like Joshua (yes, the Biblical dude who conquered Jericho was a military genius. How many guys you know who ever conquered a more powerful foe without firing a shot?) to later greats like Ethan Allen (the American Revolution leader, not the furniture guy); from Stonewall Jackson to Douglas MacArthur. I am fascinated by their ability to assess a situation, to inventory their resources, to garner support and push toward a goal. These guys were charismatic leaders who led their followers to many victories...and a few defeats.
And that's the part that we cannot forget. Greatness is not measured by your ability to avoid failure. It's measured by your ability to overcome it, learn from it and move past it to the next victory that waits. Joshua had Ai. Jackson had the Seven Days campaign. MacArthur labored through Korea. But greatness demanded that these leaders move on.
It does the same for you and me. Whether we are leaders or followers, God's promise to all of us is that defeat does not have to be final. Setbacks are just that...set backs. But they do not have to bring an end to your journey. You cannot allow them to determine your future. God can take any failure in your life, real or perceived, and use it as a stepping stone to the next great event for you. You must never give in to the lie of mediocrity (that's for my friend who is reading). Never. Failure does not define you, it simply detains you.
On another note, day two of the "prayer experiment" (check yesterday's blog for more information). Thanks for the responses and the encouraging posts. I am fired up as God continues to listen to our cries. I can tell the beginning of this "journey" has angered the enemy and it will not be easy. Isn't that cool?