Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
He is often described as a genius – I’m talking about Thomas Edison.
He lived to be 84 and acquired a remarkable 1093 patents. He was the driving force behind such innovations as the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb and one of the earliest motion picture cameras. He also created the world’s first industrial research laboratory. Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman, who has been described as America’s greatest inventor. Most people have heard of his great success.
But not everything went to plan in his long life. One night in December 1914, his laboratory was virtually destroyed by fire. Although the damage exceeded $2 million, the buildings were only insured for $238,000. The buildings were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof. It was a sad state of affairs – much of Thomas Edison’s life’s work went up in spectacular flames. Spontaneous combustion caused the blaze.
At the height of the fire, Charles Edison, Thomas’ 24 year old son, was running around the building frantically searching for his father among the smoke and debris. Finally he found him. He was calmly watching the scene.
“Charles, where’s your Mother?” he called out. “Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives”. The family were devastated at the loss. Everything had been destroyed. Next morning, Edison again surveyed the mess and said this – “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew”.
The history books tell us that three weeks after the fire, Thomas Edison managed to deliver his first working phonograph. I found that a remarkable statement. Although he lost so much, this great man believed it was never too late to start again. Quite a good lesson for life in general: with God’s help you can salvage hope and a new start from among the debris and mistakes.
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“Out on a Limb” is Where the Fruit is
I want to say, it’s never too late to start again. Life is imperfect. It’s complicated and burdensome and messy. And you are a part of it, a part that grows and changes and laughs and loves and gets broken and comes back together. But there will never be a time when you can’t just step back and start all over. When you stumble and fall, don’t forget that you have the option to get up and fix it. It’s all about being persistent in reaching our goal. Failing gives us lessons to learn and gives us room to grow.
We become better as we make mistakes and we learn to correct them. Most importantly, we become stronger as we strive to succeed. Starting again is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, you must be proud of it, for it only shows how determined you are to succeed and how you won’t let failures or challenges stop you from getting to where you want to be.
You may say ‘That’s alright for you to say that. My situation is too messy. I don’t think I can start again’.
I read an old Chinese proverb that said, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” With faith in a loving God, it’s never too late to start, again and again and again. Failure is never final, because when you include God your loving Heavenly Father, He is an expert at bringing people out of the ashes of despair and loss.
“Fearing people is a dangerous trap. But trusting the Lord means safety.”
Failing is something most of us are afraid of, especially as we try to achieve our goals. But the good thing about it is we can always try again. We fail because we’re too afraid to take a risk. It’s easier to wallow in self-pity and seek everyone’s sympathy. But that’s not a good plan. When you stumble and fall, don’t forget that you have the option to get up and fix it. It’s all about being persistent in reaching our goal. Failing gives us lessons to learn and gives us room to grow. We become better as we make mistakes and we learn to correct them. Most importantly, we become stronger as we strive to succeed.
In many ways fear sets you up to be a loser – don’t do that. There’s a better way. Proverbs 29:25 says “Fearing people is a dangerous trap. But trusting the Lord means safety”.
Did you hear about the man who directed in his will that four words be placed on his tombstone, and they were these: “At least he tried”? Sometimes you have got to take risks. That’s what brings abundance and success in life. Someone said, “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb; that’s where the fruit is!”
There’s a verse in Proverbs 20:30 “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (Good News Bible). Now, isn’t that truth?
Stop regretting. Regretting doesn’t change anything. It only keeps you looking in the past. It’s like looking in the rear-view mirror while driving down a winding road. It’s a sure way to end up in trouble, if you are always focussing on the past.
It’s never too late to start again. Ask God to help you start up again.