Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, and Kinzer!

Thursday, February 12, was Kinzer’s first birthday. (Kinzer is our 7th grandchild!) It also happened to be the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln AND of Charles Darwin! (They were both born on the very same day.) Later, when Kinzer has  grown old enough to understand such things, I would like for him to think about a few lessons that can be learned from these men who share this special birthday!

Obviously one can spend a lifetime studying great men like these without exhausting all the life lessons they offer. But I will briefly offer two life lessons from each.

Lincoln Lesson #1: We can Learn to Refuse to Let the Opinions of Others Keep Us from Doing What Is Right!

Lincoln was a man who was often ridiculed and derided and even despised and hated. Yet, most people today would rank him as one of the greatest of all American presidents. The powerful lesson is that we must not be too concerned about what people think or say about us. We must simply do our best to understand what God wants us to do, and do it.

Lincoln Lesson #2: We Can Learn that when Life Is Very Tough– We Must Keep Going!

One of my favorite Lincoln lessons has to do with his incredible perseverance after many failures, disappointments, losses, and griefs. You probably remember some of the things on this list. I got this version from: http://is.gd/jqOq

“Here’s a short list – there actually are several more – of the life challenges of Abraham Lincoln
• He failed in business in 1831.
• He was defeated for state legislator in ’32.
• He tried another business in ’33. It failed.
• His fiancee died in ’35.
• He had a nervous breakdown in ’36.
• In ’43 he ran for Congress and was defeated.
• He tried again in ’48 and was defeated again.
• He tried running for the Senate in ’55. He lost.
• The next year he ran for Vice President and lost.
• In ’59 he ran for the Senate again and was defeated.
• In 1860 he was elected the16th President of the United States.”

(not mentioned in the list is that he lost 3 of his four children along the way)

Darwin Lesson #1: We Can Learn the Wrong Way to React to Personal Tragedy

Charles Darwin turned bitter against God when his ten year old daughter died. (It was the classic argument, heard so often, “My daughter died. If God were good and all-powerful He would not allow her to die. Therefore God does not exist.”)

Instead of digging into Scripture to understand the source of and solution to our problems and to get a long range perspective (God’s perspective), he opted for the wrong conclusion. It’s easy to conclude that if there is a God, then He must be there for my comfort… to make things the way I want them to be. And it’s easy to forget that this life is but a vapor in the larger scheme of things. It’s easy to lose an eternal perspective.

Darwin Lesson #2: We Can Learn Not to Reject God Just Because We May Have an Imperfect Understanding of All His Ways

Darwin (as many nonchristians do today) rejected God because He could not accept that so many multitudes of nonchristians could eventually go to hell. He could not reconcile the fact of suffering and death with a God who is good.

To substitute for God, Darwin tried (totally unsuccessfully I might add) to explain creation by laws of natural selection and the evolution of simple life forms into more complex life forms. He tried to imagine an explanation for life where suffering and death would be natural… and which left no room for God.

(By the way, I have some thoughts about the creation vs. evolutionism debate here.)

Of course, millions of people have followed him down that road of meaninglessness and hopelessness.

So, as our grandson, Kinzer, grows up… I hope that his special birthday will encourage him to remember and live by these two very positive lessons from one of our greatest presidents… and also these two negative lessons form the very sad life of a great man who made bad choices.

Stay in the battle!