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Daily Devotional: Thursday, August 24 - Overcoming Setbacks

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” — Matthew 19:26

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I recently watched the men’s steeplechase finals at the USA Track & Field Championships. This was the race that decided which three men would get to represent the U.S. in the steeplechase at the World Athletics Championships, which are taking place this week.

Midway through the second lap of the 3-kilometer race, NCAA champion Kenneth Rooks toppled over a barrier and hit the track. To all watching, it seemed like his race was over — his dreams dashed and hopes of making a world team crushed.

But he didn’t believe that. He believed in his training, his grit and his personal right to be in that race competing. He rolled out of his fall, got right back up and kept running. He was 20 meters behind the pack, but he just kept going. Over the next six laps, he raced his way into third place, and over the final hundred meters, he passed two others and crossed the finish line as the winner. He was the U.S. champion.

We have all probably had dreams dashed by a mistake or sometimes by something entirely out of our control. What we do with this moment makes all the difference. We have a choice to either lie on the track, defeated, watching our dream run away, or we can get up and make something of our setbacks.

We don’t have to believe the lies of the enemy that we’ve failed, will never make it, or that this dream is not ours to see fulfilled. We need to believe the truth of the God who created us to do the great things He calls us to, and gives us the strength and power to do them.

Just like Joseph when his brothers threw him into a pit, we can believe that the dream He gave us will eventually come true (Genesis 37-50). Just like David who sinned against Bathsheba and her husband, we can believe that our mistakes don’t define us and we can get up and become a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). And just like Paul who persecuted the Lord’s people and endured jail time and shipwrecks, we can be humbled before God, overcome adversity, and become an evangelist to the nations (2 Corinthians 11:16-33)

We have the power within us to believe we can do great things, and also the power to do them. But it isn’t our power — it’s God’s power. Where have you let the world tell you that you can’t do it? Where in your life do you need to get up off the track and keep running? In what situations do you need to trust God and know that your story isn’t over?

— Ondi Mejia

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