“Both poetry and philosophy are prodigal of eulogy (give lavish applause) over the mind which rescues itself, by its own energy, from a captivity to custom, which breaks the common bonds of empire and cuts a Simplon (Napaloeon’s pass over the Alps) over mountains of difficulty for its own purposes, whether of good or of evil. We can not help admire such a character. It is a positive relief to turn from the contemplation of those relying on some one else for a solution of the difficulties that surround them to those who are strong in their own self-reliance, who, when confronted with fresh trials and difficulties, only put on a more determined mien, and more resolutely apply their own powers to remove the obstacle so unexpectedly put in their way. There is no surer sign of an unmanly and cowardly spirit than a vague desire for help, a wish to depend, to lean upon somebody and enjoy the fruits of the industry of others.”
I like this kind of teaching and being fatherless at fourteen I was faced with the two options – depend on myself or depend on others. I didn’t have a large pool of “others” running to my rescue, so by default I learned to depend on myself. I may have taken this too far and maybe I still do; but at 23 when Christ Jesus came courting my heart and offering his help I listened, experimented and gave in to what seemed an irresistible offer. That being said, it has always been of some difficulty to know where we let go and where God takes over. Either choice in its self is not the answer, of that I’m sure. We are made with mastery to work, think, reason, endure and strive, as well as many other abilities; not to use them is shameful. To use them instead of faith in God is futility. I’ll let each person determine the balance.
“It has been said God never intended that strong, independent beings should be reared by clinging to others, like the ivy to the oak, for support. The difficulties, hardships, and trials of life – the obstacles one encounters on the road to fortune, are positive blessings. They knit the muscles more firmly, and teach him self-reliance, just as wrestling with an athlete who is superior to us we increase our own strength and learn the secret of his skill. All difficulties come to us, as Bunyan says of temptation, like the lion which met Sampson, the first time we encounter them they roar and gnash their teeth, but once subdued we find a nest of honey in them. Peril is the very element in which power is developed.”
The Golden Gems of Life by S.C. Ferguson and E.A. Allen, photo by Lemon Bartleboom