Seventy years are given to us! Some may even reach eighty. But even the best of these years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we are gone. Psalm 90:10
In Virgil, one of the wounded warriors returns from battle and his body lies askance in the chariot like a little boy's stick in the sand. Virgil gives something of the determination we need today when the warrior rides into the city and cries, "Nevertheless, holding the reins."
Too often at the cry of battle or the appearance of difficulty, we are prone to run the white flag up and surrender, or at least make a strong plea for negotiations. The man who emerges victorious in life is the man who rides forth to battle and emerges bearing the marks and the scars of victory—but nevertheless, holding the reins.
Who doubts that it is easier to get a divorce and start all over? Who would deny the fact that it is easier to declare bankruptcy than face the debts that hang over your head? Yes, the easy way out is to tell off your boss, walk off the job, and go to work somewhere else. But are you really holding the reins in life when you seek an easy way out? Have you really won?
William Shakespeare once wrote, "To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." The person who takes the easy way out cheats himself of the thrill of victory when he or she faces the challenge and rises above it. The road to mediocrity is the way of retreat and compromise.
Years ago, Moses wrote, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow" (Psalm 90:10, KJV). We could rephrase Moses' words, "The days of our years are threescore and ten, and if by reason of antibiotics they are fourscore, yet is their strength labor and difficulty." If you are a chronic gloom‑hanger, constantly looking on the dim side of life, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Do not forget that the water runs downhill for all the fish in the stream. Are you prone to think that your case is a little bit rougher than everyone else's?
A friend of mine is a social service worker. She says that nearly everyone who comes for help sincerely believes that his lot is harder than the next fellow's, and that ill‑luck has singled him out for rougher treatment than the average. We all feel that way at times, but to sit down in our misery and draw a circle of gloom around us, is by no means the key to breaking out of trouble.
A Supreme Court Justice, who has refereed literally thousands of bankruptcy cases, says that there are some universal reasons for business failures. The reasons, he feels, are broader than just business failures alone. Reason number one is failure to face the facts. Number two is a hesitancy to act on the facts. Number three is misappropriating and misusing the resources that a person has. The person who starts something in life and constantly changes his mind--beginning and quitting--seldom gets anything done; but the man who stays with his task--plugging away a little at a time--is the man who eventually rises to the top.
At best life is short. You can make some mistakes‑‑but there are some that you cannot afford to make. You cannot afford to be the biggest success in town if you have never learned how to live. Is it any wonder Moses prayed, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Psalm 90:12, KJV).
Face the facts, act on them and then use the resources of your life wisely.
Resource reading: Psalm 90.