Do you remember playing tug-of-war as a child? Often during family picnics, someone would suggest a game and all gullible family members were enlisted. All that was needed was a long rope, sometimes knots were added to the rope to give each player a handhold, other times we would just hold on the best we could. Teams were evened out with stronger members on both sides, then the fun and giggles would begin. Many times we would hear shouts of encouragement to “hold on!”
When faced with challenging circumstances, I believe that most people have a tenacity to do all they can to improve their situation. However, when these difficult times continue to persist, and we don’t see any improvement on the horizon, we sometimes, perhaps even often, feel discouraged. What do we do? How do we hold on?
During World War II, when Germany was relentlessly bombing England, Winston Churchill encouraged his fellow citizens with the words, “Never, never, never give up.” His bulldog personality helped others to persevere through an extremely difficult time.
A woman, who had been a horse trainer earning $70/hour, lost her job when her boss died, and suddenly became homeless. During an interview, she was asked, “If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?” to which she responded, “For a wishbone, to make a wish, a backbone – so that you can stand up tall and deal with your average jogging person, somebody that’s got a home, PTA moms, and have a backbone so that you hold your head up high, stand up straight and tall – so I’m homeless, and a funny bone – laugh it off because at the end of the day, you’re still homeless.” She had only a few belongings, but she was more than surviving. She had courage, hope, and she could easily smile.
For the British people, a war far away suddenly came to their shores, drastically changing their lives. For the homeless woman, her normal life also changed without warning. What about us? We cannot always predict or even plan for all the problems we might face, and worrying about such things doesn’t solve anything.
If problems come, perhaps like the homeless woman with the easy smile, we can find our funny bone and laugh off all the problems we can’t solve. Perhaps like the British people, no matter what the circumstances, we can decide to never lose hope. But if we just remember that God, who died so that we could live, promised us that He would never leave or forsake us, perhaps the best way to hold on is to thank God for the peace we know, for the homes we have, for the food on our table, and so much more. Perhaps then we can just look within, and find the courage and strength God promises us, and then we can hold on.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23