HOW CAN MAN DIE BETTER?

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Over Labor Day weekend, my family and I went on a camping trip, like we usually do for holiday weekends. However, this weekend seemed a little bit different than it usually did.

As many of you know, our family has been experiencing a lot of stress over the past couple of months. Our mom is facing a possible job loss for standing up against tyrannical mandates and our family has become more politically active than we ever have been. Our dad has been having some medical issues and is still having tests and things run. Lilly and I have been having our own struggles within friend groups, Bible studies, discipleship relationships, etc. and it feels like the problems just keep coming.

Even though we were on “vacation” for the holiday, it still seemed like we could not escape the stresses that continually haunt us in our everyday lives. That stress just continues to be present, no matter where we are.

Now, I am not writing this post in order to gain pity or sympathy, but to tell you that the stress we are feeling, is actually good.

On Monday evening, we were planning on sitting around the campfire, and hanging out outside, but unfortunately it started raining, so we had to go inside the camper. Most of the fam ended up just going to bed, but my dad and I decided to watch one of our favorite “comfort” movies. That movie is one about Winston Churchill called Darkest Hour. The whole movie is based around Churchill coming into his position as Prime Minister in the height of WWII, and specifically the issues he faces with getting most of the British army off the island of Dunkirk (I wrote a blog post all about Dunkirk, But If Not, if you would like to read more about it).

At Winston’s literal darkest hour, when his entire party and war cabinet has lost faith in him, when they are pushing him to surrender and seek peace with Hitler, he decides to seek the thoughts of the British people. The day that Operation Dynamo is initiated, Winston decides to ride the Underground and speak with some people who don’t have all the facts about their present, serious difficulties, and get some perspective on it all.

His whole entire railway car says the same thing; they will never surrender.

In this scene, Winston quotes an ancient poem and says, “Then out spake, brave Horatius, Captain of the Gate. To every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods?”

This is probably my favorite quote in the whole entire movie, and literally brought tears to my eyes as I sat in my camper at 12:30am, the weight of all my stresses resting on my shoulders.

All of us have “stresses” that we face in life, but are your “stresses” the ones that matter? Are you stressing over the things that impact eternity, or just your petty little grievances with others?

I have become sick and tired of churchgoers acting like they are such martyrs for the faith when they stand up for a minor, frivolous argument in which they do not even act like Jesus. I hate to even think about how many of us will die thinking we have accomplished something important, that we have faced fearful odds. Only because you blew up at someone about something on Facebook and will then have to face the sad reality that you did not help someone grow closer to the Lord but rather made them run in the other direction.

I believe that the kind of stress you experience matters. Are you simply stressing over the juicy new gossip you just heard at school or work, or are you over here so stressed about the poor state of Christianity that you cannot help but be on your knees before the Lord?

If we look back on history, who is remembered? Those who dwelled on gossip and cower in their bubbles of self- righteousness and fake martyrdom? Or those who were worried about their fellow man and the causes for which they fought, and were concerned with more important things than cowardly self-preservation?

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”   (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Why are movies being made about Winston Churchill? Because he faced fearful odds, and he even did it alone.

It is time for all of us to start stressing about the right things, because most of us are going to come to the end of this life and see that all our actions are strung up in one long line of compliance.

Those who are remembered, who made a real impact on this world, so much so that we still talk about it today, all faced fearful odds.

What kind of odds are you really facing?

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you experience eternal stress?

= How do you usually respond to stress?

= What are you going to do differently?