Someone dear to me is struggling through a great challenge. I admire her for the tremendous courage she shows each day. Here is my analogy of life for her and for all those who need a boost of encouragement in the ongoing battle.
Imagine a woman climbing up a very tall hill. At the top of the hill, just over the rise, is her home. She walks towards it, knowing that in that home there will be complete rest, peace and joy. There she will be reunited with her loved ones, her Father, and her Elder Brother. She looks forward to that day so much.
Meanwhile, though, she has to keep walking, and the journey is long. There are bumps in the road, rocks, snakes, and other obstacles that keep popping up. She’s been wounded before, and she has many scars from her climb. She’s lonely and cold and scared. That’s a normal part of the journey, though. Everyone encounters these things. But this woman has an added challenge. She faces a headwind that blows against her, day after day, minute after minute. It is cold and relentless, and she wishes with all her heart that the wind would cease. But the only promise she has is that when she gets home, there will be no wind. This wind is very discouraging to her: no matter what she does, it keeps blowing. She does what she can to counteract its effects. She wears a warm coat, gloves and a hat. She has a nice, strong staff that she leans on. She stops and eats hot, nourishing meals along the way. When she sees others in need, she stops and helps them, and all these things help her and give her courage. But still the wind blows.
This woman has great courage. She keeps going. She keeps putting one foot in front of the other, day after day. Not only does she face the normal obstacles and this awful headwind, but she encounters people along the way who don’t want her to get home. Their main goal is to stop her from continuing her walk, to give up. They taunt her, criticize her, and tell her she can’t do it, and their cruel words torment her. Sometimes she can’t seem to help listening to them. They seem so logical, so persuasive. After all, what does she know? Maybe she should give up. Maybe her home really isn’t just over the rise. Maybe she really doesn’t have the capability to get there. Maybe she should just lie down and quit.
But little does this woman know, there are others who walk with her. Even though she feels so very alone, she isn’t. There are other people walking beside her, cheering for her, encouraging her, praying for her, and strengthening her. They were sent by her Elder Brother to help her, and they are there, every step of the way. She is never alone. And if she will call out to her Father, He will give her the strength and ability to finish her climb. He knows what a choice person she is. He allows her to face the challenges she faces because He knows she can do it. When she finally gets home, he is going to put his arms around her and hug her, and tell her how proud He is of her, because she has faced the worst life could throw at her, and she didn’t give up. She has conquered, and she has become a glorious being full of peace and light.
So I would tell this woman to stop listening to the voices that tell her she can’t do it. Instead, listen to the ones who say she can, the angels who walk beside her and are always ready to comfort and help her. I would tell her to make sure she wears her warm clothing that will shield and protect her against the power of the destroyer. I would tell her to eat the hot, nourishing bread of life that is found in the scriptures, and to cling to the rod that she holds in her hands. And I would tell her to keep on reaching out with compassion to the others she encounters along the climb, because when she helps them, she is also helping and strengthening herself. Her love and compassion for others keeps on growing in proportion to how she serves them, and by serving them, she is serving her Father and showing her love for Him.
I would also tell her to keep singing battle songs — Yes, battle songs, for this climb is a battle, and we all need the courage that singing gives us. Songs like Let Us All Press On, and How Firm a Foundation. When those negative voices start to tear away at her, I would tell her to sing aloud. She shouldn’t worry if she can sing well or not. The point is, if her whole soul is singing, then the evil side can’t overcome her. Most of all, I would tell her to keep on trusting in her Father, who believes in her, and to call on the Savior for help, for He will walk beside her and sustain her. When it seems that all hope is gone, He will be there for her.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
Keep on fighting.
(Photo by Daniel Nicolas)