There Shall Be No Alps

The President's Page

Robert H. Pierson is president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.


WHO HAS read Sir Winston Churchill's stirring words uttered soon after Dunkirk without experiencing the weight of his sincerity, his infectious optimism, and stalwart confidence:

"We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight in the seas and oceans . . . we shall defend our Island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills ... we shall never surrender."

Words like these do something to us! They demand our attention. They stir our souls! They challenge us to emulate the courageous action of this "Man of the Century."

Winston Churchill was one of the outstanding leaders of modern times. He was a man of courage. In his lexicon the words "defeat" and "failure" did not exist. When the odds were heavily weighted against him he accepted the difficult, even the impossible, as a challenge. He was a leader who knew how to rally flagging spirits and to marshal them for the victory march. Of him one fellow countryman said, "I doubt if any man in history has ever made such grim utterances yet given his people such a feeling of strength and exuberance." Churchill was a man of unbounded determination and will to win.

If you and I are to be the leaders God's church needs today, we must be men and women with a will to win. Difficult assignments, impossible situations, gnawing discouragement, must never cause us to falter or quit. The commitment we have made to the cause of truth must be the catalyst that will meet any obstacle, no matter how formidable, to tackle any task, though it appear impossible of achievement, and with the help of our Great Leader, Jesus Christ, press the battle to the gates.

Of course, the goal is too high! Of course, grim circumstances make the task apparently impossible. Of course, the critics are legion and the supporters few. Of course, times are hard, the field is sterile, and the prospects for success at times are dim, but the leader worth his salt, the leader with the stout heart filled with the love of Christ, moves forward in spite of glowering obstacles.

"Men can shape circumstances," we read, "but circumstances should not be allowed to shape the man. We should seize upon circumstances as instruments by which to work. We are to master them, but should not permit them to master us.

"Men of power are those who have been opposed, baffled, and thwarted. By calling their energies into action, the obstacles they meet prove to them positive blessings. They gain self-reliance. Conflict and perplexity call for their exercise of trust in God, and for that firmness which develops power." —The Ministry of Healing, p. 500.

Remember the precious assurance of our Lord: "All things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23). With the Captain of our salvation, who has never lost a battle, at our side, we need never fear defeat. We need fear only the times when we waver against odds, when we see lions in our way, when we are not brave enough, when we are not faith-filled enough, to keep moving inexorably ahead in the face of great odds, disappointment, or discouragement.

The will to win, with Jesus by our side—the refusal to concede defeat even when the going is rough—this is the need of every leader in God's army today. With Jesus Christ our Lord the words "defeat" and "failure" must never insinuate themselves into our lexicon. "There shall be no Alps" for the truly committed leader in this end time.

You and I may say with assurance, "I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me" (Phil. 4:13, T.E.V.).*


* From the Today's English Version of the New Testament. Copyright American Bible Society 1966, 1971.

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Robert H. Pierson is president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

March 1977

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