(A book for a father to read with his 12-year-old son)
For though a righteous man falls seven time, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. ~ Proverbs 24:16
The picture that is painted in this verse is of a man who is running a race and yet continually stumbles and falls. Everytime he falls he is tempted to just lay there, give up, and let the race continue without him. But everytime he falls, the righteous man picks himself up, dusts himself off, cleans his wounds, and starts running again with his gaze fixed on the finish line.
Nothing will test your character more as a man than the overwhelming desire to quit. There will be times when you will feel beaten down, rejected, abandoned and defeated. Everything in you will urge you to give up.
Boxers have trainers, men who wait for them in their corner of the ring at the end of each round to give them something to drink and a pep talk for the next round. Back in the day, every trainer had a large white towel draped over his shoulder which he used to wipe the sweat and sometimes the blood off his fighter’s face.
The towel also was used for one other thing: when the trainer decided his fighter was a beaten man and that it was useless to continue, he’d take the towel off his shoulder and toss it into the ring to let the referee know that he was giving up. That’s where we get the expression “to throw in the towel.”
God’s men don’t throw in the towel. No matter how many times they wind up on the canvas, they keep picking themselves up and getting back into battle.
Life will be full of disappointments and defeats. You won’t win every round. You can give something the best you have, everything you’ve got, and still lose.
We can’t always control the outcome of every fight we have to fight. But the one thing we can control is whether or not we quit. As the saying goes, we can be bloody but unbowed.
Victory in life belongs to the persistent. It belongs to those who hang in there, refuse to throw in the towel, and refuse to quit in discouragement.
A mentor of mine was fond of the expression, “God’s men bounce.” What he meant by that is a blow that would level a normal man and leave him flat on the floor is a blow that just causes God’s man to bounce up off the floor and get back in the fight.
Here are the words of Winston Churchill during some of the darkest hours in England’s history, when the British were fighting off Nazi Germany virtually alone:
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Whether it’s an academic challenge, an athletic challenge, a romantic disappointment, or a setback in work or career, don’t throw in the towel. Wipe the sweat and blood from your brow and get back in the ring. Because boys quit but men do not.
If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! ~ Proverbs 24:10