Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) was the 16th President of the United States serving between 1861 and 1865.
Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War— preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, strengthening the federal government, and modernizing the economy. Largely self educated, Lincoln has been consistently ranked both by scholars and the public as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents.
He is an example to all of us to “never give up.” Born into rural poverty, his schooling lasted less than a year, but he taught himself by avid reading.
Lincoln is consistently used in illustration as a man defined by struggle. Articles such as this below, outline Lincoln’s failures and successes:
- 1831 – Lost his job
- 1832 – Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature
- 1833 – Failed in business
- 1834 – Elected to Illinois State Legislature (success)
- 1835 – Sweetheart died
- 1836 – Had nervous breakdown
- 1838 – Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker
- 1843 – Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress
- 1846 – Elected to Congress (success)
- 1848 – Lost re-nomination
- 1849 – Rejected for land officer position
- 1854 – Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
- 1856 – Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President
- 1858 – Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate
- 1860 – Elected President (success)
Another Abraham of history, Abram of Ur, the Chaldean, suffered many set backs to become “father of history.”
Fore-father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Abraham was aptly named “father of nations” [Gen 17]. However, Abram and his wife Sarai were barren throughout most of their lives.
Told by God to leave their home country, the family journeyed from Ur to Haran, and from Haran to Canaan. Still no child eventuated. God promised to Abraham, his children would fill the land as the stars filled the sky and bless the whole world [Gen 15]. Still no child eventuated.
Finally God promised Abraham, that his descendents would be rulers and kings would come from him [Gen 17]. God sealed the promise with an unconditional covenant in which the punishment would fall on God if ever the covenant were broken. Eventually a child was born.
Abraham was 100 when the child was born and Sarah past her child-bearing years. Yet God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. Obedient until the last Abrahm, believed that God had a purpose and so obeyed. Abraham’s hand was stayed at the last minute and a ram provided in place of his son.
Generations later, kings and nations of have descended from one man and his aged wife. Moreover, through Abraham’s descendents “THE king” was born and all the nations of the earth were blessed.
The point is, the two Abrahams and their stories give us the big picture. In the moment, we cannot see the point of crises in our lives. We cannot see the narrative we are living.
When we look to the Abrahams of history we can be encouraged to no give up, to endure the hardships because greater men than us have, and their struggle has yielded great things.