Monday, November 05, 2007


Have you ever seen the movie, Room with a View? To appreciate this film requires a sense of humor of a certain type, but it is one of my all-time favorites. It’s rich with those lines that become favorite quotes, including one that has become my motto for life right now. It’s a romantic comedy (of course!) based on the 1908 E. M. Forster novel of the same name. describes it much too seriously as “a study of repression within the British class system of manners and mores.” It is a young Edwardian woman named Lucy Honeychurch, traveling in Italy with her stuffed-shirt aunt and chaperone, Miss Bartlett, whose romantic inclinations are suffering such repression, but not for long.

Anyway, there is one rather silly scene from which I have managed to manufacture a drop of deep meaning for our times, so you must hear about it. In this scene, Miss Honeychurch and Miss Bartlett have traveled out of Florence into the lovely Italian countryside with some other tourists for a picnic. They are traveling in open carriages, and afterwards on the way back to their pensione, a fierce thunderstorm overtakes their party. As rain pours and lightening flashes around them, a frightened Miss Bartlett and Miss Honeychurch huddle together for comfort in their carriage. Sitting opposite them is Mr. Eager, the pompous local Anglican rector, who attempts to encourage Lucy as follows:

“Courage, Miss Honeychurch, courage and faith! Do you suppose that all this immense electrical display is called into existence just to extinguish you or me? Even from a scientific standpoint, the chances against our being struck are enormous. The steel picnic knives, the only articles which might attract the current, are in the other carriage.”

Does life feel this way for you right now? I think for many of us it does, especially for those who are currently launching new businesses, ministries, or who are undergoing massive life change of any type. We feel like we ARE the steel picnic knives, exposed in the midst of a raging storm and constantly assured by our enemy that we are targeted for destruction. And sometimes are comforters don’t do much better than Mr. Eager!

But it is the word of the Lord and not the word of the enemy that counts. His word to us in this hour is, “Courage and faith!” Faith feeds trust in the Lord, while courage is the engine that keeps us moving doggedly forward on the path He’s called us to, regardless of what is flying around us to frighten, discourage and distract. Courage also breeds resolve, that powerful quality on which every war in history has been won or lost. And with our courage, faith and resolve, we need a healthy dose of good humor to keep our struggles in perspective and not take ourselves too seriously. After all, “This, too, shall pass.” And we have the same encouragement God gave to Joshua as he was about to lead Israel in to the Promised Land: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”