‘We will either find a way, or make one’ is a famous quote attributed to Hannibal as he led the army of Carthage across the Alps. His elephants were a “superweapon” in his time: unsurprisingly, these mighty beasts panicked the Roman horses and won a crucial victory for Carthage.
Mountains are still a major obstacle even today. This photograph, taken near Ellmau in Austria, illustrates the difficulty. If you look closely, you will see a sizeable building (an “Alm” offering food, refreshments and shelter) that looks tiny! Left hand edge, about halfway up, just above the trees. Just getting there is a real challenge! Attempting to take an army across a mountain range is next to impossible; but Hannibal did it.
Our attitude to challenges is important. If we are defeated before we try, why try? Or we adopt Hannibal’s determination and find a way- and if we can’t find one, we will do our best to make one!
I’m not advocating invasion with elephants… I’m simply recognising that life is an obstacle course. To know where we are heading, and to focus on achieving our purpose is crucial. It might be a new job, or a broken relationship, or health problems, or just trying to live the best and most human life we can.
Jesus inaugurated the “Kingdom of God” and set the early disciples the task of carrying on the mission to completion. They faced Roman armies too… and hatred, persecution, indifference and misunderstanding. Churches existing today right round the globe are the evidence of their commitment and sacrifice. It seemed to be “Mission Impossible.” God prepared them at Pentecost when Holy Spirit power and grace transformed them from mice to mighty! Those who had abandoned Jesus at Gethsemane took on the challenge.
They would find a way, or make one… and they found that Jesus had trodden out a pathway for them. As they struggled over the obstacles, they remembered the words of Jesus who said He has “overcome the world.”
John 16:25-33 The Message Translation “I’ve used figures of speech in telling you these things. Soon I’ll drop the figures and tell you about the Father in plain language. Then you can make your requests directly to him in relation to this life I’ve revealed to you. I won’t continue making requests of the Father on your behalf. I won’t need to. Because you’ve gone out on a limb, committed yourselves to love and trust in me, believing I came directly from the Father, the Father loves you directly. First, I left the Father and arrived in the world; now I leave the world and travel to the Father.” His disciples said, “Finally! You’re giving it to us straight, in plain talk—no more figures of speech. Now we know that you know everything—it all comes together in you. You won’t have to put up with our questions anymore. We’re convinced you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve overcome the world.”
I find that rather encouraging. Jesus has overcome the world, even these mountains in front of me. So I shall find a way… the one Jesus made for me.