A Christian Science perspective on daily life.
Standing tall isn't always easy. It seems that even those in respected positions at times fall from grace when they face opposition, adversity, or even temptation.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
In fact, the ability to remain upright is perhaps just the first step in surmounting a troubling circumstance. Martin Luther expressed the need to lean on a higher support in his often quoted prayer, "Here I stand. I can do no otherwise; so help me God! Amen!"
One of Luther's greatest contributions was his translation of the Bible into German, a task that certainly met with opposition. This work would have necessitated his thinking deeply about the challenges faced by the many men and women of the Bible who leaned on God for the strength that enabled them to stand tall. No doubt that intense study sustained him despite the opposition he faced.
One account of Moses depicts this position metaphorically. When the children of Israel faced the Amalekites in battle (see Exodus 17), Moses stood on the top of the hill with the rod of God in his hand. As the battle raged, every time Moses got tired and lowered his arm, the tide turned and the enemy started to gain ground. Realizing this, Aaron and Hur stood at his side and held his arms high and steady "until the going down of the sun," and the battle was won.
Moses had some help from his friends in standing tall that day. He knew what had to be done, and his friends helped him remain steadfast. In return, his nation was not defeated, and his people were protected.
A young British girl experienced similar protection in the darkest of circumstances during World War II. Her dad was a British businessman, and the family was living in Hong Kong at the outbreak of war. British women and children were sent to the Philippines for protection. Unfortunately, the young girl, her mother, and brother were captured and placed in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in the Philippines.
With selfless love, the girl's mother sheltered her children in every way possible, often giving them most of her meager portion of rice at mealtime. But more important, this woman, like Luther, put all her trust in God, refusing to be brought down by the situation. She studied her Bible and the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The author, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote: "It is man's moral right to annul an unjust sentence, a sentence never inflicted by divine authority" (p. 381).
God was the only authority that this family worshipped. So when the guards routinely demanded that these prisoners bow to them, the mother encouraged her children to bend low to the ground with her, but then they would stand fully erect. This mother, tall of stature, would take her son and daughter by the hand, and all three would stand tall, and walk away, steadfastly knowing that they stood under the care of God's omnipresent love. The oppression made no impression on them.
Proof of this came when their imprisonment ended 3-1/2 years later. Although this occurred during the children's formative years, and they had received very little food and minimal schooling, they suffered no lasting physical deprivation or educational setbacks because of these years of struggle. At the end of the war, when the British prisoners were freed by American troops, the family returned to England. The girl and her brother were enrolled in schools where they quickly caught up on the missed lessons and participated fully in athletics and all the activities of young teenagers.
In fact, today that girl is now a particularly beautiful and statuesque grandmother and still lives her life standing tall, trusting God's protection and care.
Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able
to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13