This is exactly how it happens in our lives. Those who belong to the summer of life - which is the prime of youth - want to have eternal youth. But that is not possible. It's natural that there must be change. But are you not inclined to insist on remaining the same age? You are afraid that by changing, you will somehow decline. You know from experience that you don't always go up. Every day your mood has ups and downs. After having passed through the day, if you find that you have had more ups than downs, then you can safely say that you have had a good day. If you have had more downs in a day, you will say that you have had a bad day. You may think that you want to have no downs at all in your life, but that cannot be.
In the world of change, how to digest what we encounter and make it something good is always the question. More than anyone else, young people are faced with constant changes, because their dispositions are like that. You seek stimulating things, and you want to have variety all the time. If you can digest the problems and changes and still want to have more, that's all right. But if you don't have this digestive power and yet desire to experience new things every moment, that's not possible. You as young people must learn to manage your own problems. You do not know the future before you, so you need to learn how to go through the path of life in such a way that you will be able to think of every event positively, so that you can continually grow.
If you say you hate to undergo disciplined training because you don't like it, or that you just can't stand it, you have been defeated already. You must have the attitude that you want to face whatever comes with great expectation and interest. You must not look through just one point of focus, but look around at your situation in all four directions. Looking at the Hudson River, you know the deep water runs silently. But upstream there have already been many events: sometimes the water swirls in a deep eddy; sometimes it pounds down on the rocks, as in the waterfall; sometimes it rushes past big rocks or runs over small pebbles to be gathered into the ocean. As you may have seen in the movies, if you are faced with a very rough current when in a boa t, you cannot just look immediately in front of you, but you must set your gaze far and wide, and you must be quick to manipulate the boat. Otherwise it will be wrecked on the rocks right before you. In your life, too, there are waterfalls; sometimes th e water will even form walls or cliffs in front of you. So you must dodge quickly past one place or steer directly through the waves in another.
You must be prepared for the wave. If you are riding the wave, however hard you may struggle not to be carried on the current, you cannot resist it. If your destiny is to float on the current of the Hudson River, you must flow as it does. You may very p ossibly be like the waterfall or the water running past the rapids, but you must not become discouraged by the roughness of your course. If you are trained on this course, things to come will become easier for you to handle. If you take interest in what you are going through, and if you are thrilled to find new adventures, then when you are faced with even greater difficulties, you can tackle those with more zeal and capability. But if you are unwilling to confront the problems occurring around you and are afraid of them, then you will not be able to turn the experience into training to face new problems. Only by having gone over the rocks and waterfalls can you lead yourself to the heart of the ocean.
There are many ways of life: the life of an ordinary man, the life of a sacred man, and the life of a great leader. When you are asked which one you want to become, all of you, I am sure, will answer, "I want to become a great leader." But a leader canno t be made overnight. Such. a person has to endure many trials, and with often desperate effort he must persevere and be ready to face still more.
Those who have been faced with life-and-death situations - not once, but continuously - know how to give themselves in everyday life. Suppose there is a great general. Looking into his past, we find records which show that he fought in many battles, was sometimes defeated and sometimes victorious. As many experiences as possible would be important to his record. But if that general in time of peace would not be willing to live sacrificially for his nation, his fame would quickly fade away. His attitu de must be that of a patriot; he must always be ready to give his life in the face of need.
We must look at how the water runs down from the mountain top. It will encounter many obstacles. If we compare our lives to that stream of water, where are we? When we look at the world as a whole, the world situation is somewhere in mid-course - not q uite reaching the deep ocean. Before its coming to the ocean, the world may one day be at Niagara Falls. Can the drops of water say, "I hate to pound down the cliff "? At the top of the cliff, you must get ready and say to yourself, "It's thrilling, and I want to jump down from this cliff and reach the ocean as soon as possible." If you are eager, then you will succeed and attain your purpose. When you survive having gone over a Niagara Falls, then every other person who is faced with the waterfall wil l come to you. Many people may try to give the new ones advice, describing how difficult a job it is to crash over the cliff - but you with experience are the only one qualified to do so.
In the world under the Roman Empire, Christians were faced with iron bars when they tried to advance. But if Christianity had not been persecuted by Rome at that time, I don't think Christianity would have progressed to today's level. If there is only a low dam, then a strong current of water will overflow it. Because Christians had more onward determination than the stopping power of Rome, Christianity overflowed and flooded the Roman nation and the world.
When you are tired you doze off, but you yourself are not aware of that. You may try hard to resist your sleepiness, and you may mean not to fall asleep, but you do so just the same. If these two small openings for your eyes close, then all the rest of your body will come into harmonized action, and you fall asleep. Every cell of your whole body will cooperate with that one action. When you doze off, all the parts of your body do so. In order for you, one individual, to survive adversity, you must fe el that the whole universe, not just your relatives and neighbors, will come to your aid. If someone pulls out one hair of your head, does that part alone feel the sting, or your whole body? Every human being is a part of the universe, so if one part fa ils, the whole universe will ache over that failure. If you succeed in a mission, you must not think that the success belongs to you alone. A river is the accumulation of raindrops, though out of the water some portion must evaporate.
You must want to ride the current that beats against the rock, and with that force you can go ahead, joining the mainstream until you reach the mouth of the river; then you can join the ocean. In God's providential course of restoration, there is also a mainstream. Would you join that great river, or one of the tributaries? Everyone will answer, "The mainstream." But unless you can flow past all the obstacles in the tributaries, you cannot meet the main river. Our life itself is something like a river . You are here going through training, seated side by side; but once you are scattered and sent to your different missions, then you will be like small streams running through your own courses to reach the mainstream. Would you as a drop of water try to join other raindrops - or would you rather absorb other drops of water into yourself, to form a mainstream yourself? Even if you may have to be tributaries for a while, I want you to be the one to gather other drops of water until you join the main current.
We cannot foretell if all of us here will meet at the mouth of the river. We do not know if we all will reach the heart of the ocean. If you are faced with any power stronger than your own determination, what will you do? If you are faced with a power greater than your own strength or spirit, will you be absorbed and surrender? It is not easy to answer.
Sometimes, people are small-minded. If a difference of interest occurs between two of you, you may become angry with each other and argue. Then someone else may want to reconcile the conflict between you and say pacifying things to you both; but you wil l only become more fierce toward each other. If you had a broader mind and would let the other go, that person would cling to you and want to solve the problem. You should be of such a broad mind that you can smile and return to the work waiting for you . If you are like water trying to surmount a wall, you will be eager to rush over it as soon as possible and join the larger body. Time will solve the problem. If you can pass on from the difficult place quickly, you will succeed. Tell the other drops of water, "You may stay there, but I must rush on."
When you are scattered all over the country, you can write back and forth. Some will say in their letters, "Oh, I am faced with troubles, and all this is not what I expected. It's a most difficult job to witness to the people." It is very likely that th ose who receive letters will be influenced by that. In the life of faith, we must not fix our glance on what is happening only at the moment, but look far off into the future, toward the goal where God is hailing us. We must never be settled in one place.
As you go along, you must always be able to add something to what you are. If you pass by a village and there is a great fight taking place, you should get into it, reconcile it, and then go along your way. In that way you can help solve others' problem s, and you will also pave the way for others following you.
You have seen many successful people in the history of America. In their backgrounds, they have many adventures. The more they have had to overcome in their lives, the greater people they are. If someone has had even one more such experience than anoth er, he is a little bigger person than the man with less experience.
The harder, the more challenging the situation is, the more progress you will make. Do you realize that? You are so anxious to be successful, but if you have no zeal to fight through the way to success, you will not meet it soon. You may say that in or der to go to San Francisco, you must ride in a bus, an airplane or a train. But you must have no such fixed notion. If you really want to go to San Francisco, you must be able to walk there.
When I was imprisoned in North Korea under the Communist regime, it was right in the prison cell that I learned that lesson and became resolved to fight forever against evil. I was confident that I would win over it. I said to myself, "However strong Ki m I1-Sung's power may be, if I am well trained in prison and go through hardship here, I will be able to be victorious over anything." I was ready to eat any food they gave me - or even to starve. In North Korea, the winter temperature is very cold. Eve n though I was wearing only thin clothes without any lining, I could bear the cold. The labor in prison started at 8: 00 in the morning, but as early as 4: 00 they would call us out in the open air and check to see if we had anything hidden inside our cl othing. Out in the cold air, people would shiver - their trembling sounded almost like thunder. In that situation, I would always say to myself, "Even if it gets colder, I will not surrender to it." I did not feel cold at all. I trained myself by givin g thicker, heavier clothing to other people, and clothing myself in thin clothes. I would look for heavier work, and say to myself, "I will succeed in doing this, or I will die." With that seriousness, I fought my circumstances.
How many times did Peter answer Jesus affirmatively? It is easy to answer now. If one of your eyes is put out in battle, what will you do? If one of your limbs is cut off, what will you do? If you lose all four of your limbs on the battlefield, will y ou still go on? In the face of a great task, you must be ready to sacrifice everything. A raindrop beginning at the mountain top and running down through the stream to the great river is faced with many obstacles. You must be prepared for adversity whi le doing great things. You must be ready to die for the cause you have undertaken, or else you are foolish to say you are following the way. If you are resolved to deny yourself and give up your very life, you will never be afraid of any difficulty. Ho wever strong the enemy's fortress may be, you will never be intimidated. You will be contemplating at least how to die a brave death. Are you like that? If you are prepared to die, you will not die, and victory will be yours. You must be resolved firs t of all to deny yourself.
Why do I tell you this? When our circumstances are difficult, we must be determined to face these and win over them. You must know that you are going to be defeated in the long run unless you consider your circumstances and become able to either adjust or maintain your course through everything. How to digest and conquer your environment is the question. Don't ever try to escape from life, but feel challenged and persevere on your way. On an uneven road, ups and downs are to be expected; but where th ere are peaks, there are valleys at another time. When you find yourself in a dungeon, you must expect that in the next moment, God will bless you with the most grace.
You must imagine yourself in a race, feeling that kind of determination. Resolve to have more strength than any enemy so that you can win over whatever the obstacle may be. I always told myself that I could eat less than other people and do more than ot her people, sleep less than other people and wake up earlier than others.
When you are faced with difficulties that look really hopeless, you may feel as though you are going to perish indeed; but there is always a way out if you look for one. Even in the prison cell, I would teach young people. I learned how to make fire eve n when I was alone on the mountainside. I know how to feed myself with wild herbs. I always imagined that I might be faced with any difficulty; then I studied to learn the secret of overcoming that. If you have vowed before God for any great cause, you have to keep your promise.
Try to focus on today, on this very moment; and if you are the victor in your heart right now, you will be victors after going through the entire course. So, you must be alert in winning the very moment you are faced with for the side of God.
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