Life’s Setbacks, Don’t Let Them Stop You

Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) accomplished many things as a young man and in middle age.  He was a Professor of Physics by age 24, and a Professor of Chemistry by age 26.  He was the Dean of Science at the University of Lille by age 32.  He had discovered pasteurization by age 40.  He helped save France’s silk producers when he was 43.  He identified the micro-organism causing the silk worms disease, and offered a solution.

Then came a major setback.  John Hudson Tiner writes, “Then at the crest of his fame, a tragedy struck.  Louis suffered a stroke that paralyzed his left side.  It threatened his life. He was 46 years old.  Because of the stroke, most people believed his scientific career was over” (John Hudson Tiner, Exploring The History of Medicine, p. 84).

He did not let this stop him.  He learned to walk again.  Moreover, he went on to make many important scientific discoveries in later life.  He found a vaccine for Chicken Cholera in 1880, a vaccine for Anthrax in 1881 and a vaccine for Rabies in 1885.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) also accomplished many things as a young man. He was elected to the New York state Senate when he was 28.  He was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy when he was 31.  He was the Democrat candidate for Vice President when he was 38.

Then came a major setback.  He was struck with a paralytic disease when he was 39. Jonathan Alter writes, “He felt a violent chill and went to bed before supper.  The next morning, August 11, 1921, he staggered into the bathroom to shave before collapsing on the bed.  At age thirty-nine, he would never walk – in the conventional sense of the word – again” (Jonathan Alter, The Defining Moment, p. 50).

This did not stop him.  He was elected governor of New York in 1928.  He would serve as the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 – 1945, being elected an unprecedented four times.


Let’s be productive and accomplish something on earth while we can.

Too many give up too easily.  This is certainly true when it comes to the work of the Lord.  Consider the following passages:

  1. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
  2. “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
  3. “And let us not grow weary while doing good for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).
  4. “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21).
  5. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
  6. “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36).
  7. “Yes, I think that it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you…” (2 Peter 1:13, cf. 2 Peter 3:1).
  8. “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).


About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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