When you feel like life has kicked you in the teeth, get new dentures. In 1984, 1988, and 1992, American speed skater Dan Jansen suffered a series of disappointments in his attempts to win the gold medal in the 500-meter and 1,000-meter races. He finished fourth and sixteenth, respectively, in the 1984 Olympics. As he prepared for the 500-meter race at the 1988 Olympics, Jansen found out that his sister was dying of leukemia. She died later that day, and Jansen fell in this event. Then he fell again at the 1,000-meter event, leaving the Olympics with no medals. In 1992, Jansen finished fourth and twenty-sixth, respectively, with no medals. Then in his final Olympics in 1994, Jansen finished eighth in the 500-meter event and he won the gold in the 1,000-meter event.

In order to win after so many disappointing losses, Dan Jansen had to keep things in perspective. He gained this perspective from an early loss. At the age of 9, he tripped and came in second place in a national skating competition. The tears flowed freely. Then his father told him, “You know, Dan, there’s more to life than skating around in a circle.” This changed his outlook and kept the disappointment from crushing him.

Sometimes Christians will get hurt and face disappointments because of people who have let us down or circumstances beyond our control. Here’s how I get over them: I make up my mind that I’m not going to stay down. I determine that I’m not going to stop fighting. I’ve learned to get up and quit feeling sorry for myself. In our darkest times, we have to remember to walk by faith and not by sight. Our faith is in a God who is on our side. He will give us the courage and strength to keep going.

You might feel like you could really be a great teacher, preacher, businessman, musician, husband, wife, brother, sister, son, or daughter if it weren’t for the people or circumstances which stand in your way. That isn’t the truth. God has put those people and circumstances in your life for a reason — and it’s not so that you will give up. Trust Him enough to get up and give it another try.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder