|This sums up everything about the character of Samwise Gamgee.|
How we handle struggle and trial defines us as people. Every single person has struggled. Even Jesus struggled in the garden the night before his crucifixion. But yet how we handle is it what people remember. If you want a historical example of this you can look at Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt as a younger man was a far different person than he what is remembered and immortalized for. Growing up as a sickly child, he suffered from severe asthma and was often made to sleep propped up so that he wouldn’t suffer any attacks in his sleep. He eventually rose above his ailments by taking up boxing and eventually going to Harvard, which within itself is a great accomplishment. But then his first wife and his mother both died on the same day and in the same house, and he disappeared away to his ranch in the Badlands of South Dakota because his grief was so great. He eventually came back to New York after rebuilding his life, ran for mayor, eventually became police commissioner, Assistant Secretary to the Navy, Governor of New York, Vice President, and eventually President. He used that trial by fire to mold himself into the man he was meant to become. The attitude we have about trials is what will control how we handle them. Whatever it is that you struggle with, whether it be doubt, stress, family issues, sin, temptation, lust, anger, depression, or simply frustration, you MUST remember that if you’re fighting against the bad in the struggle, then your heart is right. If you’re fighting against sin, then your heart desires purity. If you didn’t care then you’d definitely be in trouble. But how do we endure and rise above the struggles?
|As Indiana Jones knows, it takes a leap of…|
…Faith. We endure and rise above through faith. But faith in what? It could be one or many things, but the primary thing must be God. He created all things, which includes you, and everything is under his control. Maybe God is allowing the struggle to mold you into growth and trust in Him. You have to hang on to Him, listen to and read His Word, and trust in his love and his sacrifice for you. How do you do that? Well, it’s honestly different for everyone. For me personally, it takes me being honest with myself and my flaws, and letting go of my pride and begging for help and forgiveness, and then getting into the things of God. After that its all about endurance. But for you it may be different. You can also put some of your faith in people. The encouragement of a friend, family member or significant other is extremely important. If you have someone you trust and is strong enough to help you bear some burdens then let them try to encourage you. You cannot live without human connections. It’s like what John Donne said: “No man is an island entire of itself…”. One of the ways that God shows us his love and grace is through the people he brings into our lives. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve got it all figured out, I don’t. There are days where God isn’t on my mind, and that breaks my heart. But if you desire to have your mind on the things of God then you are definitely stepping in the right direction. If you take a step towards God then he will take 5 towards you. I’ve struggled with things, I still do, but I will not let that define who I am. Christ has to define who I am. And you have to let Christ define who you are.
|Noah Webster did some defining too|
Struggle doesn’t exist to torture us; it exists to strengthen us, teach us about ourselves, and focus our attention on the one who created us. Trials don’t last forever and all storms eventually pass. God is the god of millions of chances, of redemption. We hang on to faith and keep climbing that mountain because we know he’s waiting for us. The joy of the struggle is the knowledge that victory is just over the next rise. It may be hard to reach the summit of the mountain, but you can’t give up and let the struggle beat you. If you stop climbing and struggling, you die. If you keep pressing on and trying your hardest you will get to the top, because if you’re climbing and reaching for God at the top he will help pull you along. Once you get to the top the trails and struggles of life will be nothing but a shadow in the bright sunlight of victory. Keep climbing. Your mountaintop awaits.