Last week I was reminded of the story about Colonel Harland Sanders and his KFC story. I had heard it before and being reminded of it again was fun. A man who basically started his KFC chicken business at age 65. But even more amazing than that, as legend has it, he and his recipe were rejected 1,009 times. WOW. One thousand and nine times. You have to believe in what you’re selling or what you’re making to continue after being rejected 1,009 times.

You know we live in a world where we might fail once and often can be ridiculed and we throw our hands up and say “Oh well, I tried.” Just think back to your biggest success in life. Would you still have it after failing 1,009 times? Would you still have gone after it? When I was growing up my favorite quote was by William Arthur Ward; “Adversity causes some men (people) to break; others to break records.”

I love that quote. As a sportsman I always had it in the back of my mind. As a businessman I always had it in the back of my mind. Now as a pastor I still have that at the back of my mind! I have never forgotten that, because it’s a principle. You see adversity can break you and replace dreams with fear. Failure, rejection, fear and a lack of perseverance can lead you to a lost and broken path.

But here’s the thing, setbacks, failure, rejection can also all do one thing, and that is learn. Learn about our will power, self-discipline, our mental toughness and a whole host of other strengths. What makes the two approaches different is how we view it. One person will view it as failure. The other will view it as another opportunity to perfect it. Colonel Sanders was the latter.

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In the same way, faith shares the same attributes as adversity. We lament and complain when things go wrong or we struggle so badly in certain areas of our lives. And often we blame God for such things. But like adversity being able to identify and experience a new resolve within yourself, we discover that about God.

Think about it, if we never experience pain, how can we know God as healer? If we never needed comforting how can we know Him as comforter? If we never needed anything how can we experience Him as provider? We can say we let Him down or He let us down … or maybe we can experience, learn or discover something more than who He already is in our lives.

You still have a lot left in you. Rise warrior. Lift your head. Put your crown back on and run strong. For He is with you. Amen.

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Pastor (Rev.) Rich Stein is an associate pastor of Calvary Christian Church, 2322 Spring St. in St. Helena. Services are 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Details, (707) 963-9255 or sainthelenachurch.com.