I suppose we all could use a little inspiration from time to time. After all, it seems, life does have a way of taking the wind right out of our sails. It’s easy to find ourselves, at best, drifting along; and at worst, downright depressed.
Sometimes we can find inspiration in the words of famous men and women. Who can forget the words of the great patriot, Patrick Henry, who declared, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Or how about John Paul Jones who, when asked had he surrendered, cried these immortal words, “I have not yet begun to fight!”
When the British, in World War II, faced what seemed to be imminent defeat at the hands of Germany, Winston Churchill made this claim which will ring throughout the human history of free people, “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
And how about the stirring words of Dr. Martin Luther King in his speech, “I Have a Dream?” Or John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address in which he challenged all of us to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Here’s a personal favorite of mine by Harriet Beecher Stowe: “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the time and place that the tide will turn.” Now, that one is worth writing down and committing to memory!
But sometimes words are, well…just words. I remember reading a poem many years ago titled “Sermons that You can See.” It spoke of the power of example.
I think it was Gibran who wrote, “One just man causes the devil more distress than a thousand blind believers.” Sometimes we find inspiration in a life well lived.
I often think of my late father. His friendly face and shy smile visit my mind’s eye from time to time. My father’s life had a steadiness about it. And thinking of him has a way of steadying me.
I have so many friends who are facing difficulties these days. Some have endured the untimely death of someone near and dear to them. Others are undergoing treatment for serious illnesses with uncertain outcomes. Still others are dealing with financial challenges. And there are others whose lives have been touched by alcohol and drug abuse or divorce and/or a child custody battle.
And through it all, they remain so brave and true. And I am inspired by their courage.
Sometimes when I need a “lift” I find it in a spectacular, blazing sunset or the splendor of a morning sunrise. Sometimes I find it on a clear night when the sky is filled with dazzling stars that seem so close, I could reach out and gather them in my hands. Sometimes I find it when one of our granddaughters smiles a certain way. And sometimes I find it when I breathe in the smell of country ham and eggs frying in a black iron skillet. Still other times I am inspired when I finish a menial task and can look back and see where I’ve been!
Speaking of inspiration, Paul, the apostle wrote “all scripture is given by inspiration of God” or “God-breathed” or “God-inspired.” Since the Holy Scripture is God-inspired, it can inspire you and me. That’s why Joshua was given the order, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but you shalt meditate therein day and night….” The promises of God are, to His children, an inexhaustible source of inspiration. When we fill our heads and hearts with the words of God, it gives the Holy Spirit incredible leeway to do His work.
And speaking of inspiration…again, these are the words spoken to Joshua as he led the children of Israel into the promised land: “Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee wherever you go.”
If those words were good for Joshua, they are good for you and me.
Jack McCall is a motivational humorist, southern storyteller and author. A native Middle Tennessean, he is recognized on the national stage as a “Certified Speaking Professional.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 615-973-8645; Copyright 2021 by Jack McCall.