The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
1 Corinthians 8:2
Several years ago, a high school in Port Huron, MI, needed a commencement speaker for its spring graduation. The school decided to invite businessman Ross Perot. Mr. Perot accepted. As a result, what the senior class received that year was a commencement address few of them would soon forget.
Not far into the speech, Mr. Perot made it clear that he had a deep concern about a certain portion of the graduating class. His concern, however, was not about those who had to struggle to get through school. Nor was his concern necessarily about those who had certain disadvantages or difficulties. Rather, his deep concern was about those in the class who had sailed through their four years of high school with straight A’s.
In many cases, Mr. Perot told them, “you don’t know what it is to strive, fail, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again and again; and, finally, never to win a medal but just finish the race.” Because that segment of the class had not yet tasted that bitter but necessary slice of life, Mr. Perot was telling them that even though they knew many things, here was one vital thing they did not yet know.
God’s Word has a similar thought for you and me, but the thought is even more profound. It’s easy for us to picture the devil at work when we encounter setbacks or failure or grief. What may not often occur to us is what the devil can do when we experience success. Satan can use even the head-rush of achievement to lessen our appreciation for God’s grace. Satan can use that moment of victory to distract us from God’s undeserved love for us in Jesus Christ.
Keep that in mind when the Lord chooses to allow disappointment and failure into your life. His goal is not to give you an unbroken chain of success stories. Rather, it is to do whatever is necessary to keep you close to him. After all, he died for you. He loves you that much.
Lord Jesus, I ask you to carry out great things to your glory through my life. I also ask you to do what is necessary to keep me close to you. Amen.
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