I remember reading Sir Barton’s Ode in college. (To be accurate, I remember reading about Sir Barton’s Ode — thank you, Cliff Notes.)
Sir Andrew Barton was a 16th century High Admiral who sailed the seas on behalf of the Scottish Crown. He was considered a hero by some, a pirate by others. He was eventually captured and executed by British authorities.
The Old English ballad that describes his life contains this phrase, his account of one of his many battles.
I am hurt but I am not slain
I’ll lay me down and bleed awhile
Then I’ll rise to fight again.
His words remind us of the words of St. Paul, who said…
We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 CEV)
Paul is saying, “We may be hurt, but we are not slain…we can get up and try again.” There are more than a few times when life will knock you down. At that point, we have the choice to stay down … or merely to lay down, for a while, to “bleed awhile,” and then rise to try again.
There’s power in the second try, and even greater power in the third, fourth, and fifth try. You may feel like you’re getting weaker every time you fail, but the fact is that every time you get back on your feet, you build a little more muscle, a little more momentum, and you tap in to the power of perseverance.
And you don’t have to do it on your own.
The real power comes from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Maybe you’ve been knocked down a time or two. Knocked down doesn’t equal knocked out. Through the power of Christ in you, you can rise to try again.