First, Y’gotta TRY.
I am sort of a history nut. I enjoy going to the places where important things have occurred. I walk placid fields and shady forests where once brutal and bloody battles were fought and I try to sense the fear and the courage that gripped the soldiers who fought there. I stroll along the parapets of old brick and masonry forts and try to envision the thunder and roar of the cannonades that once shook these massive walls to their core. I stand in rooms where once laws were written and treaties were signed and I ponder the thoughts of the men who stood in these same spots and fashioned the great chapters of our history.
There’s a commonality to be found in such places. Great things were accomplished here because someone or several someones dared to TRY to DO something they felt to be noble or necessary or needed, even when it seemed as though they were attempting the impossible.
Actor Jimmy Stewart hit the nail on the head in one of my favorite Civil War films, ‘Shenandoah”. His character’s son had been captured by a Union army patrol, who’d mistaken the boy for a Confederate soldier. Stewart’s character and several of the boy’s brothers set out to rescue the boy.
After a series of misadventures, Stewart’s character became disheartened and he decided to give up the search. Stewart said to his ‘sons’, “I knew when we started this thing there wasn’t much chance we’d find the boy. But I had to TRY. Because if we don’t TRY, we don’t DO. And if we don’t DO, why are we here?”
First time I heard that, I thought it a bit trite, but having watched the film some several times, I see these few words now in a different light. Because nothing in this world ever gets done if someone doesn’t find the courage to TRY.
It is important to note that daring to TRY may prove to be costly. Such was the case with Robert Kennedy, a man who was just a few short weeks from being elected president of this land when an assassin’s bullet ended his life. At Kennedy’s funeral, his brother Ted painted a clear picture of his slain sibling.
“My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: ‘Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.'”
God has a way of calling us at times when we feel we are not ready, or that we haven’t the wisdom or the talent to accomplish what He wishes for us to do. Thing is, we might just be right about that if we look only to our own strength and our own skills. But we need always recall that for God, nothing is impossible. With his strength and His guidance, we can DO.
IF we first have the courage to TRY.
Such was the case when Jesus reached out to a simple fisherman named Simon. He asked this ordinary man to become extraordinary. And the man looked into Jesus’ eyes and accepted the challenge. In doing so, this man Jesus would rename Peter agreed to TRY. Simon Peter agreed to follow Jesus that day on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and he did this knowing his decision might someday cost him his life. And so it did.
Peter was not a perfect man, far from it. Peter was often brash and head-strong and three times he publicly denied Christ at one of Jesus’ most trying times. What did Jesus do? He forgave Peter – three times.
You see, Jesus sees it as far better to be a follower who sometimes fails than one who fails to follow. In short, Jesus looks for those who’ve the guts to TRY. Give Him that and He’ll give to you the strength to DO.