(also titled “Causes of Crowns – The Truest Defense”)
Well, what might we say about the tests of life? This is poignant. You’re struggling with a certain person, or a certain situation, and you’re ‘in the moment’, and like so many times you feel you’ve failed the test, lost your cool and said the wrong thing, or said the right thing in the wrong way, which has been just as damaging. You’re with someone you love perhaps and you feel you nevertheless can’t control the situation; you nevertheless can’t say the right thing-it’s all a bit futile.
This situation must resonate with everyone surely. I find the rule up to Christmas, ironically, very taxing in this regard. It is like everyone is on under more pressure, a little more stressed, and ready to pounce on any loose information they might encounter. It doesn’t make for a favourable ecosystem for love to have its way. Again, an irony; Christmas is supposed to be about love and generosity, isn’t it?
How do we successfully negotiate the testing time? How do we survive these tests and behave like the saint we need to be in order to not upset people, particularly loved ones?-and, more to the point, how do we get by with our sanity intact?
This is where my search for truth has taken me to some great wisdom quotes, some from quite uncommon supplies.
I love the motion picture, Meet The Robinsons. Not only is the animation first class, but it provides such a cool and salient ‘never give up’ theological message. The main character, an orphaned boy named Lewis, ultimately becomes Cornelius Robinson; inventor extraordinaire of the future. For Lewis to reach his destiny takes some wise choices on his behalf-he takes some wise advice, particularly from his future wife who he meets as a grown woman in the future. More to the point though, the theme of the movie is encapsulated in the following Walt Disney quote which is shown at the end of the film.
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re disinctive… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” [Italics added]
Lewis simply learns that the only way to really succeed in life is to never give up. The idea that earns Lewis success is to simply keep moving forward, to keep trying no matter how disillusioned he might get. The meaningful movie illustration is his time machine invention that went by a thousand failed attempts, all of which the Robinson’s are proud of, in retrospect.
Is there a lesson in this for us? No doubt. The concept of keeping on moving forward clearly involves such character in going against the grain of our emotions; the inclination we have to give up when the going gets tough. Of course, the only thing worse than giving up is the feeling of being the loser as you beat yourself up over it!
There has to be a better way.
I surprise if the trick in this thinking lies with curiosity-as stated in Disney’s quote? Instead of being swayed by defeat, curiosity is a much more powerful motivator; it gives weight to the fact that defeat is a strong negative motivator, because curiosity is such a potentially cogent positive motivator-it can excursion us anyway; there really is no limit.
There is a paradox in this truth here! If we can only get over the issue or disappointment in our midst, and as Walt Disney says, “Keep moving forward,” we can sow for ourselves hope of not only a better day, but a miraculous day… a situation that only God could touch. This has to be tried. We don’t have a chance of seeing this unless we try it. Now this is faith.
The Apostle Paul stated in his letter to the Romans similar things, inspiring things. He said “If God is for us, who can be against us?” In other words, if we are trying to do the right, just, and fair thing and we are being trounced for it, we will ultimately succeed and be made right for it. God, or if you like, the forces of character and life, will ultimately make it so. It is more appropriate to keep moving forward in doing the right thing, than be swayed by our emotions.
The following Chrysostom quote captures the essence of this. It is very simply, faith:
in addition those that be against us, so far are they from thwarting us at all, that already without their will they become to us causes of crowns, and procurers of countless blessings, in that God’s wisdom turns their plots unto our salvation and glory. See how really no one is against us!
The real life practicality of this advice is this: If you do not give up in your endeavors, trying always to find the right way, you will ultimately succeed. What is more, the Christian faith (and perhaps others-I am not be exclusionist here) commands that whilst we willingly suffer in the midst of a situation, God is turning these things out for us, and against the very people who might be trying to make life more difficult for us. If it weren’t a law of God’s character, it would be magic.
The trick is endurance by the period of experiencing; a commitment to be steadfast in your love, that no matter what, you don’t strike back, you keep moving forward.
There is a trick of the mind involved here. There is a training lesson. First, take on the theory. No one can be against us if we are living for truth. We have forces in our favour that no one is able to manipulate. The second thing we must do is truly practise the matter of having faith and persisting, already to the point of experiencing anguish and torment-if the matter is very important, it might be the only way.
Give it a go; you have nothing to lose in trying. You might already find the strength of life in this, that no one can stand against us in the fight for real truth. Not one.
It’s appropriate to finish with the Robinson’s. The song Little Wonders by Rob Thomas, is the sound track of the movie and it captures the essence of “what to do”: Keep moving forward.
Let it go,
let it roll right off your shoulder
don’t you know the hardest part is over
let it in,
let your clarity define you
in the end we will only just remember how it feels
Let it slide,
let your troubles fall behind you
let it shine until you feel it all around you
and I don’t mind if it’s me you need to turn to
we’ll get by,
it’s the heart that really matters in the end
© 2007 Steve Wickham