This excellent production was filmed on a budget of $70 million and brought in an impressive $210 million at the box-office. The critics must have agreed with the fans, as “Braveheart” was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and took home five. It has since gathered a cult following.
While there are many memorable scenes, the one I wish to reference here is the one recounting the 1297 A.D. Battle of Stirling (Bridge). Having suffered terribly at the hands of Longshanks’ earlier cavalry charges, Wallace contrives a novel way to defeat the enemy. He has his men once again line up arrayed for infantry battle, thereby inviting the inevitable charge of the enemy.
Sure enough, the English cavalry take the bait, and charge full force. In a classic display of raw courage, Wallace keeps his men in place, repeatedly bidding them to “Hold”, “Hold”, “Hold”! At the very last moment, as the full brunt of the cavalry charge is bearing down upon them, Wallace yells “Now!” Thereupon, he and his men immediately drop to their knees, relinquish their infantry weapons, and raise a forest of extra-long spears abutted against the ground.
The end result is, of course, terrible for the charging English cavalry. Horse after horse and rider after rider alike is impaled and neutralized as a weapon of war. In the ensuing melee, Wallace and his men retrieve their swords, battle-axes, maces, and other infantry weapons and proceed to annihilate the heretofore invincible English force.
The Battle of Stirling was a tremendous victory for the Scots. From there, they went on to raid and sack the fortified city of York, in England proper. But what made the victory at Stirling possible? While the battle was technically won with sword and battle-ax, it was essentially won by courage - the courage of one man to lead and the courage of a whole army to obey his command to “Hold” in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds!
It still works much the same way for us today. We are accustomed to think of victory as something we attain through sheer strength, sheer passion, and/or sheer persistence. But the truth is quite different. Often, our victory comes through our ability simply to hold on courageously until our Lord makes a way for us to win!
This is clearly a Biblical principle. A case in point: after the events of Easter Sunday, the disciples of Jesus were, in effect, told by Him to “Hold”! He instructed them to go to Jerusalem and wait for Him to send them a Deliverer. Not surprisingly, that wait turned out to be a full fifty days in duration!
One can only imagine the fear, the anxiety, and the apprehension that must have overwhelmed them during this time. Nonetheless, when the time came, on Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit arrived right on (and in God’s perfect) time!
And when the Holy Spirit did arrive, He was a game-changer. No longer were the disciples out-numbered, out-gunned, and out-done. Now, they were taking the initiative. Now, they were calling the shots. Now, they were winning the day!
Was this newfound victory due to their own strength? Was it due to their own ingenuity? Was it due to their own ability? Most assuredly it was not.
To what, then, was it due? I would suggest that it was simply due to their willingness to “Hold”, “Hold’, “Hold”!
This is, and always has been, the key to victory for those who follow Jesus Christ – we must be willing to wait upon the Lord! If and when we do, we will be victorious! Such is the promise of Scripture!
Most believers are fairly familiar with the words of the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah (chapter 40, verse 31), who tells us that that those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. But how many remember the promise of God’s Word in Psalms, chapter 37, verse 9? Here the Bible affirms that “those who wait on the LORD shall inherit the earth”!
As Easter, 2020 gives way to a period of awaiting Pentecost, 2020, some fifty days hence, I find it intriguing that we are in a stretch of time in which our civil authorities are also telling us to stay at home and wait. It is as if we are being told to “Hold”, “Hold”, Hold”!
How striking that the admonition of Caesar is the same as that of Christ! Caesar bids us to “Hold” in order to await his last second victory over a physical virus. And well we should! In this case, social distancing and scientific inquiry are proving jointly victorious even as I write this.
But at the same time, during this same season, Christ also bids us to “Hold”. Only He does so in order to encourage us to await the replenishment of the Holy Spirit! Once again, well we should! For in this case, Divine Authority and our obedience to it will inevitably win the day!
When it does, we, as God’s people, will also eventually win the day. And when we do, we will surely “inherit the land” our God has for us! Such was the case for those early disciples. The New Testament Book of Acts (chapter 17, verse 6) affirms that those who had obeyed their Master and held for fifty days “turned the world upside down”!
Hear me well - God can and will do in and through us all that He did in and through those early disciples. The key is simply whether or not we are willing to trust and obey during times of uncertainty. If we do, we too will most assuredly emerge victorious and change the world!
NOTE: The above-referenced “Hold” scene from “Braveheart” can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDVuQi4gdtk.