“It might be tough, but my dad used to say, tough times don’t last—tough people do.” Those words were spoken by James Robertson, 56, of Detroit as he talked about his daily commute to work. Robertson’s daily commute is probably much different from mine or yours. I know my commute to work only takes five minutes of a nice warm car ride in the winter and a nice cool car ride in the summer. Not so with James! His car broke down in 2005, and because he couldn’t afford another or the insurance, he decided to walk. His daily commute became a 21-mile round trip walk to work every day!
He’s able to ride the bus for several miles, but the bus doesn’t go all the way to his job, so he has to walk about eight miles in the morning and 13 miles at night after work. You would think that if anyone had an excuse to call off work he would. But James’ boss said that he’s had perfect attendance for 12 years now, despite the long, difficult commute! He doesn’t complain. On the contrary, at lunch time he bows his head to thank God for his food.
I want to share two simple lessons we can learn from this amazing story.
1. Don’t quit.
Even though his car broke down in 2005, James never quit! Instead he took the tougher but more rewarding route of overcoming hardship. He took the bus and walked the rest of the way even in bad weather. In doing so he earned the respect of others. Other people can be inspired by our examples if you and I handle difficulties with great courage and perseverance. I grew up hearing the old adage “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” We all at times may find ourselves in tough, difficult situations. Sometimes we’ll experience setbacks. It’s hard not to get discouraged and just quit! In Philippians 4:13 Philippians 4:13I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
American King James Version×Paul wrote about how he overcame these difficulties: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”We too can do all things with God’s help!
2. Look to help others along this journey.
One college student took notice of James’ situation and decided to do something to help him by setting up a donation fund. This inspired others to help, with some people even offering their cars.
God’s prophet Isaiah wrote that is a great virtue to “divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh” (Isaiah 58:7 Isaiah 58:7Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out to your house? when you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh?
American King James Version×). Notice in the next verse what the result of living this way will be: “Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” Reaching out and helping others also helps us get through tough times!
The best way to positively deal with our trials is to look at how we can help others along this difficult journey—to lend a helping hand in any way we can. When we help others, our issues may seem somewhat smaller in comparison.
So don’t quit. Overcome your difficulties by crying out to God for help. And don’t forget to reach out and help others in turn! God’s way is wonderful and always works. Remember, “Tough times don’t last—tough people do.”