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  • Allen Domelle

The Greatest Response to Setbacks




2 Chronicles 11:6

He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,

The excitement of taking the throne of Israel must have filled the heart of Rehoboam. He was trained for years to be king, and now that his father Solomon had passed away, he was anointed king of Israel. We all know the foolish decision of Rehoboam to forsake the counselors of his father and to follow the advice of those whom he was brought up with, and we know that it ended in the kingdom being divided.

This was no doubt a great setback for Rehoboam. He did not expect Israel to turn against him, but here he was with only a small portion of Israel to lead. His response to this setback was the proper response to every setback. Instead of sitting and sulking about everything being against him, he immediately began to build his kingdom with what he had. He easily could have looked at what he used to have and waited until it all came back to him, but he would have lost the kingdom had he done this.

Setbacks will come in life, and they often come at the worst time, but choosing to build from the setback is the key to not allowing the setback to become the epitaph of your life. The difference between those who build something great and those who flounder in life is that those who built something great responded to setbacks by building from where they were, whereas those who flounder gripe and complain about what life handed them.

I think if a man in my church, Bro. John Williams who is a very educated, African-American man. Life was going very well for him when a great setback hit his life that bankrupted him and left him and his family homeless. For four months, he lived in the Salvation Army shelter, but he determined not to let the setback be his epitaph. Instead, he chose to rebuild his life from that point without using his skin color or difficult situation as a crutch to complain. Today he runs two successful businesses and is in the top one percent of the national insurance company that he represents. The key was that he built from where he was when setbacks came.

I am reminded of when I became pastor of the Maranatha Baptist Church. God began to bless immediately, but then COVID hit. Nearly all the gains we had made in two years were gone. The momentum of what God was doing seemed to be wiped out. However, instead of letting COVID be the epitaph of our church, we chose to build from where we were and not let the church die. In the following months, we built back the church to its previous attendance and then doubled our attendance from that point. We could not control life’s setbacks, but we could control how we responded to them, and we chose to build from the point of the setback.

My friend, setbacks are going to come, but the setback will either be the epitaph of your life if it is your excuse to do nothing, or the setback will be the motivating factor to push you to build from that point. You cannot control what life throws at you, but you can control what you do from the point of the setback. The motivating stories we read are those who encountered setbacks with a determination to build from where the setback took them. So, what are you doing with your setbacks? Are you sitting and complaining about them, or are you using them for motivation to build? Setbacks are the stepping stones to great success if you build from them instead of letting them be the excuse to do nothing.

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