Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nelson Mandela - The Gift of Prison

Most of us aspire to be big. We desire to leave a lasting legacy or to have our name recorded in the book of history. As we observed the life of the late Nelson Mandela and the tribute that the world gave him, we aspire to be like him.

What frequently being overlooked is, the pathway to success is not the one with the least resistance. We forgot that what augment Mandela's tribute was not his presidency nor his freedom from prison, but his 27 years of imprisonment. It was in that lonely isolated cell that he meditated and shaped his vision. It was out of adversity that his greatness was born. Suffering begets greatness. In every success, there's a price to pay, and in Mandela's case, it was not a cheap one.

Most people start strong in a marathon, but only a few finish it well. Hebrew 13 urges us to consider the outcome of the faith of those who brought us to faith. Look at a person's final outcome and then, imitate it. My fear is not many people will manage to get through the finish line, as the trials of adversity often prove to be too overwhelming to bear. Pure gold is obtained after it has been forged out of all its impurities by the blazing heat of fire. Like everybody else, we want to escape that. But unlike everybody else, Mandela went through that fiery trials, gracefully.

Do you aspire to be big? Start with yourself, and most probably that will entail trials, sleepless night, radical sacrifice, and some "imprisonment" in whatever kind of forms - maybe it's your freedom to relocate to a bigger city, maybe it's your desire for a comfortable lifestyle, maybe it's your rights for a one-week vacation. Whatever that is, greatness does not come out of a magic wand, but out of the gift of adversity.

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