“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Teddy Roosevelt penned these words to describe his philosophy of life. It is an eloquent reminder to how we, as disciples, should live our lives. Sometimes the battles we fight end in defeat. I think we forget that. We live in a world where it is easy to criticize those who try to live into God-sized dreams. Many of us start life with great hope that we will make a difference but sometimes, life intervenes. We are left with disappointment and disillusionment. We may even hear others criticize those dreams. We feel defeated and we let our hopes and dreams die.
They do not have to stay dead. God is a God of resurrections. The power that God used to raise Jesus back to life is available to all of us who would put our trust in him. Trust. That is an easy word to say and a more difficult one to live. There is a step before this that we must remember. This is a step of surrender. We are called to surrender our lives to God. Surrender our worries and concerns, surrender our fear of failure. Surrender it all. When we surrender we find ourselves in the very place where God can resurrect past dreams. When we surrender we can put our trust in the One who overcame death and the grave and who can overcome the little deaths we have experienced in our lives.
If you have found yourself too timid to be in the arena, let this Easter change all of that. The Holy Spirit was so tangibly experienced here this past weekend. That same Spirit beckons us to surrender. Then to trust. Let us trust Jesus to resurrect our hopes and dreams. And let us never let go of those God-sized hopes. Jesus has made all things new!