Answers In Love

Winning at Life God's Way

In a Battle? Learn How to Win from General Grant!

The evening of April 6, 1862 brought one of the worst moments of the Civil War for General U.S. Grant. His army suffered a terrible defeat at Shiloh that day, a pounding rain pummeled his troops sleeping in the open and he struggled with pain from an injured ankle.

Near midnight General Sherman sought out Grant. He found him sitting in a dark, make-shift headquarters under a tree. Sherman intended to discuss plans for retreat but for some reason hesitated and only said, “Well Grant, we’ve had the devil’s own day today, haven’t we?”

Grant paused to puff on his cigar then said, “Yes. Lick ’em tomorrow though.” You can read more about this moment in history here.

Setbacks bring choices

Grant had a critical choice to make that night. He could have let failure overwhelm him. Others expected him to give up but he looked to the next day with hope. Grant rejoined the battle on April 7th and turned a bad defeat into great victory.

Have you suffered a defeat lately? Have difficult circumstances made you want to retreat from a job, church, friendship, marriage or family members? People give up all time. They prematurely accept defeat and suffer unnecessary losses.

Failures and setbacks come to every life. Conflicts and troubles plague every relationship (I know, I’m a counselor…things aren’t always what they appear). The choices we make when trouble comes (not our troubles themselves) determine who wins and who loses.

Choose Forward

Every setback invites discouragement, quitting and hopelessness. Choosing to quit only locks us into defeat.

A better choice involves following the apostle Paul who chose “forgetting what lies behind” and pressing on (Phil 3:13).” People often resist letting go of the past but there’s no other way to achieve victory after defeat. God wants us to move forward trusting His presence (Ps 139:7-10), help (Ps 46:1) and rewards for perseverance (Gal 6:9).

Grant turned defeat into victory at Shiloh because he chose to do the following:

God wants us to win battles by making the same choices as the general.

What about You?

How do you handle setbacks? Do you say like Grant, “Lick ’em tomorrow?”

Quitting sometimes make sense. There’s no point in “beating a dead horse” but please make sure your “horse” is really dead before giving up on your job, church, friends, marriage, family members, personal dreams or even Congress! Do all you can to snatch victory from the jaws of  defeat. Go the “second mile.” (Matt 5:41)

John C. Maxwell provides in-depth advice about responding well to setbacks. Check out his book, Failing Forward.

If you have turned a defeat into victory and want to share your story please write a brief account in the comment section below. We all need inspiring stories like the one that came from a dreary night at Shiloh.

Wishing you victories!


PS to my Southern friends:  I know – lots of victories on the Confederate side too! Next time I’ll write about Jackson or Lee, okay? 😀

About Cheryl Savageau

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

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