If you’re having a difficult time, as we all do now and then, how about some inspiration?
1. We Shall Never Surrender
At the beginning of the Second World War, the Nazi War Machine carried the day everywhere it went, pushing all opposition into the sea. They set their sights next on England, a country which had not successfully been invaded since 1066. On June 4th, 1940, only days after the remnants of the English forces had been evacuated from Dunkirk across the English Channel, Winston Churchill spoke to the House of Commons about his resolve:
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and 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 even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
2. Stand, Men of the West!
In Lord of the Rings, standing before the Black Gate of Sauron’s dominion, not yet knowing the fate of Frodo’s quest to destroy the One Ring, Aragorn seeks to inspire his forces with these words:
Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship; but it is not this day! An hour of wolves, and shattered shields, when the Age of Men comes crashing down; but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!
3. I am Ready
Sullivan Ballou, a soldier in the Union Army from Rhode Island, wrote a letter to his wife before he was killed early in the war:
If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter.
… Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.
The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. … never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.
… But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the brightest day and in the darkest night—amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours—always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.
4. Love Thine Enemy
We do not often stand in front of the Black Gates of Sauron, nor take to the skies to battle an invading Air Force, nor tremble before the glistening mail of opposing armies. But is the struggle to protect our homes and families from the encroachment of the world any less of a battle? And is it more of an effort to slay your enemies, or to love your enemies? We fight every day to keep the grace of God safe within our hearts, and to bring the light of Christ to a world that prefers to stumble in the darkness. And so, the ultimate marching orders come from the King of Kings:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Header Image Copyright New Line Cinema