It’s an old saying and we have all heard it at one time or another. The implication seems clear: when one faces hard times, one shouldn’t cave, whine or falter, rather dig in and get to it! It is easy to like the statement, or at least what it implies. I think I apply it to myself often enough. And yet, there are times when I realize that nothing is as simple as it seems. For example the statement “cut and run” hardly describes the reality of opposing the war in Syria.
Maybe this mind set is really more a veneer than the real thing. For after confronting a challenge and getting a sense of its difficulty, more often than not, I confess that it is too tough for me, and I cannot handle it alone. I need God’s help. Praying when we are in trouble seems as natural as breathing. I think everyone does it. You know the old saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes”. And we don’t need to be in a foxhole to find prayer our response.
This is the first Sunday of Lent. We find Jesus in the desert and being tempted strongly. His response is to point to His Father and remember who He is and from whence comes His strength.
Each of us, on our own journey in life, faces challenges and temptations. True enough, we have to “dig in” and struggle when the going gets tough. Yet the real response of the Christian is not only to dig in, but also to realize a few other things. First, we are not alone in our struggle. We are members of a community, the Church, and we make our journey together with lots of others. We can and should count on others for their prayers and support. Second, Sacred Scripture offers us countless lessons about the kindness, mercy and unconditional love of God for each and all of us. Encountering this reservoir of strength and energy is as far away as choosing to pray.
So, the old saying, when the goin’ gets tough, the tough get goin’, should be changed to something like, When the goin’ gets tough, the tough get prayin. May our journey together this Lent be a time when prayer and closeness to the Lord grows and grows.