I think children’s stories capture so much of the human condition. Often these books and tales try to take real life obstacles and put them in the form of something light hearted and silly, in order to help children mature. One of my favorites is, The Little Engine that Could. A story about a train engine facing an impossible task in front of him. In a moment of desperation, our train friend begins to believe in himself and starts saying, “I think I can, I think I can.” I love that. Sometimes in our own lives we are faced with big hills, these mountains of fears and unknowns, but we need to keep pressing on.
I’m reminded of another children’s tale, one that I loved watching growing up. Each week, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers would face a nasty bad guy (It was always obvious they were super bad). I’ll go ahead and spoil the formula for every episode, a formula so sound, that they still use it for the current Power Ranger show airing now. The baddie attacks the rangers, they morph into their power suits, taking the bad guy out, only to then have the baddie turn into a colossal version of themselves. Faced with impossible odds, the rangers fly into their robot megazord and never give up. It always ends with the heroes being victorious and blowing up the baddie (never looking at the explosion cause that’s how cool people do it).
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Life is hard. That’s the simple and sad truth about it. We go through struggles on a daily basis, life is nonstop and ever-changing, and this can become an increasing struggle that we all face. The truth is, we all have a very real enemy and he does not want us to win. I like winning, winning is fun, losing hurts. Losing makes us question our identity and who we are to the very core of our beings. I’m not simply talking about losing at a sport or at a game of jenga, I’m talking about the moments when we feel we have lost in life. Our hope starts to fade because of that person who hurt you. Each month we can’t understand how to get out of simply scraping to get by. The overwhelming events that life starts to throw our way start to pull at us. Losing hurts. In my life, it can be easy to let drown in my losses, to let it simply control my attitude and outlook on every small detail. The truth is that there is hope, because we have a creator that doesn’t lose, and even if we lost the battle, we have a God that won the war.
This week I begin my last full semester at UNCG. It’s a pretty exciting feeling, but at the same time, plenty of unknowns that go along with that. The things that are unknown in our lives can cause us to fear a great deal of things. Will I be able to support myself? Is this the right move? What happens if I got it wrong? These questions make us afraid, they scare us because the unknown is a scary thing. You see, life is full of these scary unknown situations. We have questions about each of our futures and the purpose we have in life, while at the same time, events come up in our lives over and over that cause us to question our God. We see people close to us pass away, we see the pains of addiction, we feel the sting of the hand that was laid on us, and we remember the words of death spoken over us. You see while those things may not have happened to you, but we are all affected in some way by those in our lives. We feel the pain and question why these happen to us; we begin to lose hope. But there is hope. There is always hope. I look back at my own life and I have watched friends lose their battle with depression, and I will never get a chance to see them again. When my friend passed away two years ago, I had no idea why or how God could let that happen to my friend who helped me gain confidence in myself and helped me be who I was in Christ. I began to lose hope, but God gave me new hope. You see in that moment I made a choice. I chose to follow and trust, even when I had every right in my mind to be angry, I chose to be sacred over scared.