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Turning your defeat into triumph

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People often ask me, “Did you start AIM with a big vision?” And I always answer, “No, I started it as an abject failure ready to give up on serving God.” In 1989, I’d just been fired from a ministry I helped start. Karen was pregnant with our fifth child (the other four were five years old an…
By Seth Barnes

People often ask me, “Did you start AIM with a big vision?”

And I always answer, “No, I started it as an abject failure ready to give up on serving God.”

In 1989, I’d just been fired
from a ministry I helped start. Karen was pregnant with our fifth child
(the other four were five years old and under). We had no medical
insurance and no source of income. Nothing was going right and I really
just wanted to get a job and make a pot of money so that I could show
the world that I wasn’t a failure. Everything in my life was spelling
the word L-O-S-E-R. If God’s strength was perfected in my weakness,
then he had a lot to work with.

I could relate to David in the first phase of his career. David was having a heck of a time
running from Saul and just staying alive.
In the midst of his struggles and setbacks, feeling hunted and alone,
God begins to form a nation around him.
David is hiding in a cave and four hundred of those who later become his
mighty men come to him. I don’t know
about you, but I couldn’t imagine a more inauspicious time to bring the kingdom
of heaven to earth.

What’s more remarkable still is
the quality of the men God sends to David.
1 Samuel 22:2 describes them this way: “All those who were in distress
or in debt or discontent gathered around him, and he became their leader.”

Wow. What a bunch of losers – worried, in financial
trouble and disgruntled. There’s nothing
“mighty” about them at all. And out of a bunch of failures, God fashions a nation.

Too often we look at ourselves
and think, “I’m not nearly strong enough yet to be of any use to God.” And in so doing, we fail to understand that we’re trying to get around the method that our Lord uses. Check it out – he began his ministry by announcing that the meek would be his raw material and that his
strength is perfected in our weakness. If it seems counterintuitive, it is. Heaven knows his ways are not our ways.

It may not make sense, but if you’re
feeling inadequate today, then step right up – that is precisely what qualifies
you to follow in David’s footsteps. This
is the way God builds his kingdom. It’s
the narrow road of humility that Jesus traveled. Over and over in Scripture we see that “God
chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”* Who knows what amazing work God may be preparing to do through you if you allow him to work through your sense of failure. Now would be a good time to ask him what he has in store and to listen for his response.

*1 Corinthians 1:27

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