You have probably seen this before, but what amazes me is that the frog is already halfway gone, but it still tenaciously wrings the pelican’s throat! That poster is so appropriate for us because there are times where we feel like that frog: doomed to certain failure. So tell me, are you going to grab the throat of the pelican and fight, or are going to give up and surrender to whatever seems the inevitable?
How about you? Are you “fighting back” by grabbing the pelican’s throat? Are you having a bad day? Are you feeling like a failure? Are you physically drained? Don’t allow your circumstances defeat you! When you chose to follow Jesus, you became empowered with the Spirit of God and you can rise above your condition.
I realize that sometimes these bad days can turn into bad weeks, and it is very easy to become more frustrated at each step of faith we take. And yes, sometimes it is hard to attack that pelican in your life, and yes, it may seem that you are being devoured by your circumstances. I understand that. But as Thomas Monson says in his book, Pathway to Perfection, “To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility.”
Yeah, yeah. You have heard things like that before, but as Dr. Seuss would say, “Unsticking yourself is not easily done!” So true. Instead, we are content to “tread water,” to “hold the fort down,” until our determination returns.
So whether you choose to grab the pelican in your life by the throat or carefully shoo it off your path – you can defeat the enemy of your faith. I know it sounds trite to say this, but whenever we face these obstacles we are making a breakthrough, and we will emerge stronger and wiser.
I realize that many of us are facing some debilitating situations, trials, if you will, of our faith. Maybe it’s a lost job, and now you cannot find work, or maybe you are facing foreclosure of your home, or maybe it is a medical condition the has rocked your boat off its moorings. I realize your trials may not look anything like the problems Job had–or maybe they do–but that doesn’t matter. We must still face them head-on.
Spurgeon wisely said, “The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.” I am not sure if it will help you to know, but the attacks against you (and Job) have absolutely nothing to do with you personally. It is your soul Satan is after. It was your faith and integrity of heart that is under attack.
When Satan addressed the Lord about Job, he did not say, “Take away his wealth, because he has too much.” He said, “Take it away, and he will renounce you.” Satan could not have cared less about Job’s wealth, or health, or family. It was Job’s devotion and love for the Lord that irritated Satan. It is the good fight of faith we are to fight.
Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you faint in the day of adversity your faith was weak.” One translation says that your faith was shallow (or insincere). The Living Bible says it even plainer when it says you are a poor specimen if you can’t stand the pressure of adversity. OUCH!
I had heard it rightly said that you could judge a man’s commitment by how much of a storm it would take before he gave up and quit. That being true, with the trials you are facing, we can see the immense confidence the Lord has in you.
Not too long ago I saw some photos of plants that simply would not give up! These plants simply followed the adage, “Bloom where you are planted.” That same can apply to you. Sure, maybe you are facing difficult circumstances, but nothing has come upon you that you cannot endure (I Corinthians 10:13)
One of my favorite stories is Bunyan’s classic, Pilgrim’s Progress. Young Christian, the hero of the tale, faces many hardships and terrible troubles, yet with undaunted faith and commitment, he continues on his journey to the City of Zion.
At one point he faces a foul fiend . . . named Apollyon. After some discourse between them, they push into a battle. Finally, poor Christian was wounded, bruised and knocked down to the point that he began to despair of life. Reaching for his Sword one more time, he yelled out “Don’t rejoice over me, O my Enemy! When I fall, I shall arise;” and with that gave Apollyon a deadly thrust.
Maybe we need to have such tenacity. Such boldness. At the end of the story is a poem:
He who would Valiant be, against all disaster;
Let him in constancy follow the master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.
Though foes beset him around with dreadful stories;
they but themselves confound, His strength the more is.
though he with giants fight he shall make good his right to be a pilgrim.
Since, Lord, thou do defend us with your Spirit;
We know we, at the end, shall life inherit.
Than fancies flee away, I’ll care not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.
There’s no discouragement shall make us once relent
our first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.
You see brothers and sisters, when we face our trials, large or small, we can settle for lukewarm, diluted faith—or we can seek the real thing: the type of faith that never gives up on its “first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.”
S-o-o-o, what’s it’s going to be? Are you going stand strong in your faith and rely on your Father and His Spirit? Or, are you going to throw in the towel; bite the bullet; give up and go fade away?
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.