“Hold your ground! Hold your ground! Men of Gondor, of Rowen, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day! An hour of wolves (or War?-I kept rewinding this part in the movie cuz I could not understand what he said and couldn’t figure out closed captioning) and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight. By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, men of the west!”

In Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Aragorn leads to battle an out-numbered army at the bottom of a mountain as Frodo and Samwise get to the top of the mountain to destroy the ring before it falls into the wrong hands. Aragorn yells this message to the army, “Hold your ground!” And the army fights.  And fights.  And eventually, the whole evil army is destroyed as the ring is thrown into the volcano.

You may not be a Lord of the Rings fan, and that’s okay.  But I was reminded of this dramatic scene while at church tonight along with the verse in Ephesians.

Ephesians 6:13-18, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

Our fight is not against people.  Our fight is against the enemy of our souls.  And as we focus on Jesus, the battle is won.

In the times you feel you can’t go on, in the times you feel there is no way out, in the times you are frustrated, irritated, losing hope, overwhelmed, when the battle is fierce, that is not the time to give up!

Look at where you have come from! Look at the ground you have gained already!  Look back at all the places you have been!

You can’t give up here!  You can’t back down.  You have too much to live for, too much to stand for, too much to show for all you have endured/encountered.  Those scars you bear are proof that wounds do heal. You have come so far.

We stand.  Not on sinking sand, not on shifting plates, not on uncertain ground.  We stand on the Rock of Christ Jesus.  We stand, well aware of where we have been, well aware of reality, well aware of how much money is in the bank (or not in the bank), well aware of the doctor’s diagnosis, well aware of the bills, the pain, the long road ahead.

But in light of all that—more than all that—more than reality of this earth and the things it naturally brings because it is a fallen world we live in—We know this:  We have the victory.  We have the answer.  We know how this story ends.

The story doesn’t end with you in debt.  The story doesn’t end with you broken, sick, lost.  The story, for those who are standing on the Rock, ends in Heaven, where there are no bills to be paid, no diagnoses, no pain, no tears, no disease, no fear, no enemy.  That’s how my story ends.

We hold out.  For just around the corner, is exactly what we have been waiting for.  Right around the corner, is what you have been looking for.  Don’t settle, don’t stop, don’t change your prayers to “Dear God, let me just barely make it”.  No! We are not those who back down!  We are not those who give up!

You have been chosen for this season, this time, this moment.  You are needed.  Your life, just by continuing to be lived, is an encouragement to others.  Stand!!! Don’t run for the door.  Don’t skip out on the day.  Don’t look back.  Don’t regret.  Stand.  Stand.  Stand.  Firmly, stalwartly, strongly, proudly.  You were called.  Don’t forget that.  You were called.  And you answered.  No one promised days without rain.  And that’s okay.

We still hold our ground.