The Last Word on Facing Challenges
In 2007 Randy Pausch was told he was terminally ill and had less than a year to live. At the time he was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, so one month later he stepped in front of his class and delivered “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” His lecture became a YouTube sensation and eventually was published as a book. Sadly, less than a year later he passed away.
It is remarkable that when facing the biggest challenge of his life, he offered the following to his students: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
This sentiment is echoed in Scripture: “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
We can spend our lives trying to evade challenges and obstacles. But when we do, we learn little about ourselves and our limits. Or we can embrace challenges as opportunities to stretch ourselves and discover that we are capable of far more than we often believe.