“Everything negative—pressures, challenges— is an opportunity for me to rise.” – Kobie Bryant
“Kites rise highest against the wind—not with it.” – Sir Winston Churchill
The word RISE has many meanings including: to move from a lower position to a higher one; to appear above the horizon; to reach a higher position in society or one’s profession; to succeed in not being limited to or constricted by a restricted environment or situation; to find the strength or ability to respond adequately to a challenging situation; to be superior to; to get up from lying, sitting, or kneeling; to incline upward; to increase in number, size, amount, or quality; and of course, to be restored to life. Christ following is all about rising. In rising from the dead, our Savior, Jesus Christ defied the rules of science, sense, and nature
We know that Jesus rose again…but what about you? Are you facing a situation from which you find it difficult to recover? Have you fallen or been knocked down mentally, physically, emotionally, relationally, or financially and don’t see a way to get back up? At times things can be so bad that they bring us to despair. We don’t know if we can come back to life and soar again. The Apostle Paul experienced this and shared it with the church at Corinth. “8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11as you help us by your prayers. (2 Corinthians 1: 8-11)
As I reflect upon the African-American experience in the US and think about the strength of my family and ancestors— Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” comes to mind. Here are some excerpts:
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.