If you’ve ever experienced the sun rise up over the Rockies mid-morning standing on one of the fourteeners, the awakening of a new day is both miracle and majestic in one. Pulling on the ropes to rise up from the out-stretched canvas and beating the referee’s count, still dazed but committed inspires an immortal belief. If, a man can wrap his mind about the verse, “If God is for us, then who can be against us;” he might discover the true inner maverick and bullet-proof spirit that captures both the majestic and the immortal resolve of what it means to “Rise-up.” Rising up unflinching against all odds and all trials, never beaten, always believing, scared but willing to saddle up! Seeking nothing more than the sublime crest of the morning sun rising above the backyard fence or failing in our spirit to reach up and pull at the ropes is too easy and gentile; it is the way of lesser men, the faint of heart.
Outlined in the book True Grit by Bear Grylls, Louie Zamperini survived a record 47 days at sea amid sharks only to be rescued and severely tortured over the next two years. Zamperini lived to be a generous man of 97 years. Captain James Riley was shipwrecked; captured by slave traders, survived a brutal march across the Sahara Desert, wherein his skin burnt to such a state it peeled away to the bone. Yet, he stayed alive by drinking camel urine and secured his freedom by cunning wisdom. Riley’s book on slavery, Surviving Africa influenced a young politician, Abraham Lincoln. Juliane Koepcke survived a plane crash in the heart of Africa. After plummeting 10,000 feet she came to rest still strapped to her seat with only a broken collarbone and severe lacerations. Koepcke crawled and swam for 10 days with maggot-infested wounds to freedom; she was 17 years old. Escaping after 2 years of brutal torture in a Nazi concentration camp in 1943, Tommy Macpherson reached his home in Scotland, re-enlisted in the commandos, parachuted behind enemy lines and became a leader in the French resistance. In the final stages of WWII he fooled 23,000 Germans into surrendering; bluffing them into believing the Royal Air Force was being called in to bomb them. Douglas Mawson lost his colleagues 300 miles from safety while on a scientific expedition in the Antarctic. During his two-month quest to reach safety, starvation and frostbite resulted in his hair, skin, fingernails, toenails and the soles of both feet falling off. At one point, Mawson fell down a crevasse just dangling from a rope – he pulled himself to the top! Finally, reaching base camp he discovered the ship that could have taken him back to civilization left port just hours before his arrival. Mawson was able to telegraph his fiancé; his message simply said: “Deeply regret delay, only just managed to reach hut.” No complaints, no horror stories, just the kind of “Grit” to put others first.
I do not believe many will face anything close to the challenges hereto mentioned; but we will face our own set of challenges! When one man calls to another and utters the phrase “Rise-Up”; it could be said that he is invoking all the deeds of those who’ve lived and been forced to call upon their inner soul that cries out, “who shall be against us!” If, iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another; we must admit the challenge and accept the strength it is capable of mustering in our flesh and bone. “When death seams almost certain, some will ‘Rise-Up’ and refuse to let it win.” We are men and we would all prefer to see action in lieu of words, regardless of how eloquently stated. However, the power of words cannot be brushed aside as the weight of a simple breeze. By words we understand our past, we tell others of the present and we contemplate God. When you tell another to Rise-Up; you are speaking directly to his soul, stoking up the furnace and wielding iron upon him with great conviction. Let us all be men who can bear the sharpening! Ain’t it so!