In 1519 Captain Hernan Cortez landed in the new world with a mission. They were there to conquer and, as it turns out, it wasn’t easy. In order to make a point about the importance of the mission and to take away the easy out, Cortez destroyed his ships. Most reports are that he burnt them. They were there to stay.
My friend, Allison, is a master ship burner.
She is a senior in college right now, but over the last few years I have watched her fight so hard, through some of the darkest valleys, but she did not give up. You can read about her story on her blog, but I wanted to share a little bit from my perspective.
I was reading in Romans yesterday some verses that I feel like I have read hundreds of times throughout my life. But yesterday they took on a new meaning as I thought about them in terms of Allison. Paul writes to the people in Rome:
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
This is the perfect picture of how Allison has been living the last couple of years and how God has been faithful to her. There were moments when she was in some deep and dark valleys that seemed like they had no way out. But she decided to fight. She looked to God for even the dimmest of lights to find a path, she found the path and then fought, and clawed and kept going until she reached the top. Her suffering produced a perseverance. And there where moments along the path that she wanted to turn back. It is much easier going down. It is much easier to walk in familiar territory. But she burnt her ships. There was no turning back. And through her perseverance, Godly character was produced. And in that character, she has found hope. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a hopeful and kind heart. But it didn’t happen over night. What I realized yesterday was that hope doesn’t happen because we decide we want it. Hope doesn’t come with the flick of the switch or with a new dawn. Hope comes after the suffering. After the fight. After the struggle. After we allow God to use that pain to shape our character. Then, looking back, we find hope. And that hope does not disappoint us because our bottom line hope is found in Christ.
Allison, you are an inspiration to me. You have a trust and a hope in Christ that leaves me breathless. You and I both know that there are more valleys and more mountain tops to come, but you have everything that it takes to make it through. Keep burning your ships. I am so proud of you and I love you!