Thursday, May 21, 2009

And Hills for Climbing

Nightingale has a beautiful song on their third album called "Hills," which I only started really hearing properly a couple weeks ago.

It's actually from a poem by Arthur Guiterman, and apparently they turned around the last two lines, but that's the part I now like most about it:

God, give me strength to climb,
And hills for climbing.

We can pray for strength, but what is strength without a use for it? Both sides of the equation have to go together.

Those lines for me resonate back two years ago, when I saw the movie "Evan Almighty." I think it was a decently entertaining movie, but one part burned into my brain and crowded the rest of it out. Morgan Freeman, as God, is comforting Evan's wife, and says:

Sounds like an opportunity. Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage, or does he give them opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for their family to be closer, you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings? Or does he give them opportunities to love each other?
(video clip)

It's a good reminder. If we're going through difficult times, we're not just suffering -- we're learning to be patient, or brave, or loving, or whatever our own personal lessons need to be. It's an opportunity to consciously acknowledge and accept those lessons. Sometimes it may be hard even just to tell what's going on, but we can still keep climbing our hills, and trust in the strength that goes with it.

So let me hold my way,
By nothing halted,
Until, at close of day,
I stand exalted.

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