What is best to be done when we are tired of trying without success, tired of fighting with nothing to show for it, tired of working without any progress? What is best to be done when we struggle to see purpose in the trials?
Our next choice should always be to do the next right thing: try again, keep fighting, work to work it out. Sometimes our greatest success is found not in an achievement but in the determination to never quit.
Quitting is losing every time. Resolve to never quit, for perseverance is success. Often the process is more valuable than the achievement it may produce.
I know some of these heroes. Personally. They walk into danger every day, and they love the opportunity to protect and preserve peace. Death danger is real. For that reason, my prayer for them is that God would keep them safe in His presence, surrounded by His presence, surprised by His never-ending presence, and satisfied with His presence. These heroes step into this life calling each day so I pray God goes with them. I believe He does go with them and before them and surrounds them with grace and strength. CS Lewis may have been surprised by joy, but I pray my hero-sons will be surprised by His grace and presence. Safe is a promise. God’s safety doesn’t guarantee health and on-going life on this earth, but it does guarantee eternal safety in heaven. So, no matter what the future holds on earth, God will keep my heroes safe forever and ever. God keeps His promises.
Curiosity is a good thing, and one that drives us to learn, invent, and discover new things. What do the curious find? Discovering that great Power that created the bright stars, endless sky, illumined moon, and blazing sun is the ultimate find; for God says when you search for Him, you will find a powerful Creator-God. “The heavens declare the glories of God.” If only we would do better at listening…
I remember wishing that I wouldn’t be picked to lead a team, group project, or committee simply because I didn’t want to pay the price for leadership and influence. As this poem implies, sometimes we want to refuse the honor of influence and let someone else lead. Unfortunately, we have done that too many times, and now there is a vacuum of influence that is being filled by people and forces that I don’t want influencing those I love. This poem doesn’t delve into the cost of choosing NOT to influence. It’s a high price. So, when offered the chance to influence, my friends, may we take up the honor, face the hardship and criticism, and lead our followers toward righteousness and integrity, toward truth and faithfulness, toward love and unity, and toward growth and maturity. Will we face aggression, injury, and wrong? Yes, the criticism will come. Leaders suffer. May we never leave a vacuum of influence for the world to fill because we decided influence was too difficult and too costly for us to possess. Vacuums get filled. We can’t afford to falter in our calling or give away what was ours to do.
I wish every person (instrument) in a boy’s life would be positive tools for molding him into a man. Notice that the list doesn’t include a rough and tough, muscle-building, self-made instrument. The best men are those who humbly know life is not about them. Eventually, boys become men who, in turn, become instruments to the next generation.
None of us like trials—the rain and cold of life. None of us want to lose the things we hold dear. Sometimes a trial leaves us with nothing. We lose it all, or we walk away from it all. In those moments of loss, we are drenched in grief and smothered in the dirt of discouragement. But then God comes, and He renews us through His power. He comforts our souls. He begins to take the emptiness and fill it with His decorations. He turns darkness to brightness. He takes our pieces and makes them perfect. He sets our table and prepares us with His goodness. He clothes us with truth. Only God can transform the trajectory of tragedy into our gain for His glory.
This ode to fathers describes the real superheroes of a successful generation. We need men who become dads to step up to be family men. Men who protect their own. Men who see the mundane matters. Men who are humble leaders. Men with integrity. Men who know how to work. We need Proverbs 31 men, too! The faithful family man—after years of doing this heroic, show-up-everyday-kind-of work—will feel vulnerable and exposed; but a faithful family man who lives a full life, dies a whole man.
More than ever, I am of the opinion that reading is one of those bare necessities in life. If someone can read, he can learn. Granted, learning can be done by example; but reading catapults a person to greater heights and imaginations. Reading opens doors, expands imagination, develops dreams, and highlights action. God spoke to us in a written language intending for us to learn to read. It is useful. It is necessary. It is little but everything. Learn to read, then read to learn. Reading will transport you and become one of your best friends.
To be heard, to be seen, and to be considered are beautiful gifts we give to each other. This redacted poem speaks of this gift that brings hope to a hurting human. Sometimes being heard is all anyone needs to have the courage to keep standing. Together we can find splendid gold in living!