The making of Christian character
It used to be a custom for travelers in Switzerland to bring home clusters of the edelweiss. The flower is not sought because of its beauty or for its fragrance — but in recognition of its hardiness and victoriousness in living and blooming under very difficult conditions. It grows on the Alps and Pyrenees, at lofty altitudes, where almost nothing else lives, and on crags difficult of access, and is among the hardiest of all plants. Thus the edelweiss becomes the symbol of noble life which . . .
is victorious amid antagonisms,
rises superior to obstacles.
The man who has never known hardship, who never has had to practice self-denial or make a personal sacrifice — may be the envy of other men whose lives have been one continual struggle. They may think that if they could have had his easy circumstances — that they could have made a great deal more of their life. But really, their opportunities in life thus far, has been far better than his. Christian character is made in the field of struggle and hardship — not in ways of ease and luxury.
Hindrances are opportunities.
Difficulty is a school for character.
Strength is the glory of manhood. Yet it is not easy to be strong — it is easier to be weak and to drift. It is easier for the boy in school not to work hard to get his lessons — but to let them go, and then at the last depend on some other boy to help him through. It is easier, when something happens to make you irritable, just to fly into a temper and to say bitter words — than it is to keep quiet and self-controlled. It is easier, when you are with other young people, and they are about to do something that you know to be unworthy, just to go with them — than it is to say, "I cannot do this wickedness against God!" It is easier to be weak — than to be strong. But weakness never leads to mature Christian character.