Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.
I recently finished watching the movie Darkest Hour, where the actor Gary Oldman rightly won the Academy Award for Best Actor in his role as the English Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. It recaps one of the greatest moments in history and tells the story of how one man could change the tide of history. It is a heroic reminder as to the courage we are all called to display at moments in our life.
I first became enamored with Churchill while going to school in England. It began with a visit to the British War Museum and the purchase of Churchill's memoirs. The second book in the series is called "The Finest Hour" and tells the story which the movie captures. Ironically, hollywood labeled the movie the "Darkest Hour" whilst Sir Churchill saw it as England's "Finest Hour".
It is story's like this which help us to draw strength. There is much to be disappointed about given the significant number of citizens and communities around the world who have been adversely impacted by the events of the past two years. I am sure that for some the fear caused by the pandemic has revealed the fear held by almost every Elglishman in 1940 as the fate of their nation's sovereignty hung in the balance.
Churchill was the unlikeliest of heroes. He had been cast out of both major political parties at one time or another and had a history of colossal military failures to go along with some of his successes. A self made millionaire and war hero before the age of 30, he had his fair share of success. However, there were also a long line of failures including the Gallipoli campaign in World War I which extended the war leading to more loss of life.
Through it all, Churchill never rested on his accomplishments and never was intimidated by his failures. His courage to confront evil and not appease the darkness which was embodied in the Nazi regime is a reminder both of the fact that evil will always walk among us and it must be confronted and defeated.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus spent forty days in the desert where he was tempted by the Devil. Three times Jesus spurned the Devil. Jesus was tempted by the flesh (hunger), the world (offered dominion over the entire world) and the devil (to dishonor God). Jesus set the example of what courage looks like in the face of temptation.
Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him.. Luke 4:13
I am reminded of working with young men and women the courage it takes to follow the righteous path. I have coached athletes who have faced more adversity before the age of 18 than I have had to face by the age of 50. It is a humbling reminder that the devil is alive and well and knows no boundaries. I am encouraged when I see these young men and women summon the courage to continue. I pray they have leaned on God as He is the path to personal peace.
Finally, we are in tumultuous times. Tyranny of thought and words is being promoted by segments of our society. They are telling us what to believe and banning or canceling those who would dare oppose the narrative. I pray history does not repeat itself as this is the same language used in the 1930's by fascists and socialists which led to the deaths of over 100 million people. We should never fear words, for they are the pathway to the truth. As Sir Churchill once said, "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."