Anyone who has spent time around me in the past several days and has looked closely would know that I have been captivated by a singular thought. Have you ever had your entire existence focused on a concept that simply covers the lens of your reality? Sanctus Real, Lead Me has seized my mind.
Growing up, some of my favorite stories were Mike Mulligan and The Steam Shovel, Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox, and Davey Crockett with his stand at the Alamo. I was always drawn to stories of brave men who valued their belief over their personal stake in the story. Maybe this is typical of all young boys, I also see my son gravitate to this basic story line of doing what is right in the face of destruction. We share a love for the Star Wars saga, The Lord of The Rings, and even the Harry Potter series.
What fascinates me is that this basic idea of good versus evil is as old as history, and even older than mankind. At our core we seem to have this idea that there is a great struggle in this world of all things good and the love that holds us together versus the darkness and all that is bent to destroy it. All good stories share this great theme. It is the theme that all of us face, whether in an epic saga or in a personal decision.
In the end, it is strength that wins. So in the chaos of my mind, I search to find this strength and wonder if it can be found in me. The song referenced above has a line that haunts my conscious thought... lead me with strong hands.
It uses the perspective of a child and of a spouse, asking the man who is the father and husband simply to lead with strong hands. To live by example, and to stand when it is necessary to stand. It is a plea to this man that the best years of his life are meant to be spent in providing for the ones who look to him.
I love the picture that my wife took of me in the boat with my two children. My hands are on the paddle. My daughter is in front of me, looking ahead in the direction I am sending us, and my son sits in the front looking at me. He does not worry the direction the boat his heading. They both trust that my vision and my direction will safely transport us across the water. My choices will determine whether their trust in me builds their character or destroys their faith.
Life can take us so many directions. It is so easy to listen to the wrong voice.
So what is real strength? I think of Oskar Schindler and I think of Martin Luther King Jr. These are two men who put their beliefs in what was right above their own personal security and even the well being of their families. I wonder if any of us who considers ourselves "good" would do this today? Is there any among us who values true belief over our own personal comfort, security, and even above the well being of our families?
Strength is so much more than the force of our muscles and the display of our power. Strength is the character of the soul and the conviction of the heart. Strength is that nugget of truth that we pay to watch with a bucket of popcorn and overpriced 3D glasses. We all have the desire to be strong imprinted deep within our being. We know it to be the ultimate truth. And yet, so many of us fear it.
Have you seen the movie, Life Is Beautiful? For me, this represents true strength. To stand in the face of evil, for those that we love. To strip the ability for the darkness to terrorize us because we know that the beauty of what we hold dear is worth it.
No matter what troubles life throws at us, we can not allow ourselves to be robbed this incredible gift that we all have. We have an opportunity to embrace our belief and to live our passion.
So what is real strength? Well, I suppose it is all the above. At times it requires us to swing an axe, or to revise our station in life to meet the need of where we find ourselves, at times it means to sacrifice our personal belongings, and even place in danger our own safety in order to live the truth. At times, it even requires us to look into the face of death itself and smile because we know a greater truth.
Strength is within. It is simply in remembering who we are. As the song states, it is not what we have done that defines us, rather what we do should be defined by who we are. We get one shot at this life and I never intend to spend a single moment regretting what I could have done.
No "if onlys" for me.
My personal belief is that a hand of strength holds me and guides me. And that strength is sufficient. Nothing else can matter. It is my desire that my children be held with this strength and that they can find truth in the direction of our lives. I do not want a secure or comfortable existence in this temporary place. I desire to live a life that reflects this deep truth of embracing the life held in the strength of God.
My soul is desperate to find this strength. What can compare?
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