For many of us, the word “saint” probably wouldn’t be the best description of our character. All of us struggle with the circumstances we find ourselves in, the changes that happen to us, sometimes out of the blue, and the curveballs that life throws our way. But for some, life is a challenge that is meant to be accepted, and it sometimes requires putting others ahead of ourselves.
Courage over fear
I recently watched the film, Saint Judy, based on a true story about an immigration lawyer named Judy Wood who successfully fought for asylum seekers and refugees in the United States. Despite the challenges of being fired from her job, the difficulties of taking care of her family while pleading the cases of several immigrants on her own name, and continuing her tireless efforts through the despairing fears of her clients, she managed to change the state of asylum law in the country, and continues the same fight today. As her own courage and conviction to change the status of the underprivileged was as much a journey of faith for her clients as it was for her, Judy Wood knew that the path to victory was not an easy one.
Life’s a crossroad
As the current times often seem to mirror something out of a movie, we find ourselves at a crossroads; one in which we can choose to take the path that seems easy, or the one that looks the toughest. Ironically, it seems that those who take the former find it more difficult in the long run in comparison to taking a tougher path that seems to become more bearable over time. Whichever path we do take, however, has a profound impact on the way we live our lives, and the worldview through which we view others.
Though we each have our own fight that is ours to take on; whether it is a family issue, or a mental health struggle, or a health problem, or even a coronavirus crisis; whatever we are facing is not only ours to fight, but is it how we respond that matters.
Seeing our problems can often have a debilitating effect on how we respond, especially if we let our issues get the better of us. In life, the problem of sin often weighs us down, to the point where we see ourselves as hopeless sinners with no way out. But, as my old Pastor used to say, “life is not a way out, but a way through”. This is what separates the sinners from the saints.
Finding the good
Just as Judy Wood didn’t find a way out of her situation, but chose to find a way to look at her client’s issues from a different perspective, and then identify a solution, ultimately changing the trajectory of all asylum seekers and refugees across the nation; we also have an opportunity for whatever problem that comes our way to respond differently.
Despite all of humanity being susceptible to sin, we don’t have to stay there. We all have the ability to respond to Someone who can help us—our Saviour, who helps us in the times of our greatest need. It is when we are able to find a way forward, with our Saviour’s help, we can find the victory. As a response to the challenges of life, we also have an opportunity to assist others who also are on life’s journey, just as we are.
As the Scriptures say, “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you, to the interests of the others.” (Philippians chapter 2 verses 3-4)
We might not have reached the status of sainthood; and for many, we may not be recognised by such a title in our lifetime, but we are certainly on a journey from which we are being changed from sinners to a more sanctified way of life.
The example of Judy Wood is certainly a real-life case from which we can all learn from; in that, we may have started from a small beginning, but the freedom we experience along life’s journey is meant to be shared with others.
What choice will you make on the crossroads of life?
Joseph Kolapudi's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/joseph-kolapudi.html