Some of the world’s greatest people faced the world’s greatest challenges, but they overcame them. Novelist Sir Walter Scott was physically disabled. John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, was imprisoned. Abraham Lincoln was raised in abject poverty. Statesman Benjamin Disraeli was harassed by harsh and bitter prejudice. Franklin Roosevelt was struck down with paralysis. Educator Booker T. Washington, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, singer Marian Anderson and agricultural inventor George Washington Carver were subjected to continual racial discrimination. Opera singer Enrico Caruso was the first child to survive in a poor Italian family of eighteen. The incomparable violinist, Itzhak Perlman, was born to parents who survived a Nazi concentration camp and he was paralysed from the waist down at age four. Albert Einstein was called a slow learner, and written off as unable to be educated.
Helen Keller was born blind and deaf, yet she graduated college with highest honours and impacted the world. Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s first woman Prime Minister, lived upstairs over her father’s grocery shop. For a while her childhood home had no running water and no indoor plumbing. Golda Meier, Israel’s first and only woman Prime Minister, was a divorced grandmother from Milwaukee.
What do these people teach us? That success doesn’t depend on our circumstances, but on overcoming our circumstances! And with God on our side we can do it! Paul, one of the world’s great overcomers wrote, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’