The credits roll. The Lights come up. People around me begin to move. The film has ended and yet I find myself stuck in the chair, having just experienced something that happens once every few years.

If you know anything about Hannah and I you’ll know that we love a trip to the cinema, and being more avid cinema goers than most, we tend see lots of different movies. However, not all have a lasting effect like this one did. I’m Talking about ‘First Man’. A biopic that recounts the life of American astronaut and aeronautical engineer, Neil Armstrong.

It’s a story I thought I knew well, but after 2 hours of screen time, I realised I knew very little about one of the greatest events in human history. The movie spans a decade in Neil’s life and covers the struggles and trials that were faced in the race to the moon. It also covers some more personal aspects of his life including the loss of one of his children. This event happens early on in the movie and can easily be forgotten as you become enveloped in the transpiring events during the rest of the story.

During the movie, there is an extract from President JFK about the space programme and its words resound today. Here’s and extract, ‘But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.’

Spoiler Alert! If you didn’t know already, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. A lifetime of hard work, determination and the loss of several friends along his journey, he made it. He succeeded and became a hero the world over. Towards the end of the movie there is a pivotal scene and it comes just after the first steps are taken and the iconic speech is given. ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ Neil stands looking out across the surface of the moon, Earth way off in the distance. Neil’s thoughts are of home and particularly of his daughter, and it hit me. After achieving so much, after going so far, would this man not trade everything to hold his daughter one more time. To spend even just a moment with her.

Neil Armstrong had many opportunities to give up. Many reasons why he may not have achieved his goal. But he didn’t give up, he chose to do what was hard. Only twelve men have made it to the moon, but he was the first.

Our Sunday services at the moment are looking at ‘Only the Brave’ taken from the book of James. James talks about how to persevere in life and calls us to stand firm through trials and to have faith. As a young man, I am still finding out about the trials of life and all that comes with it. I can confirm that life is HARD! But at the same time, I’m learning that from these hard times, from these trials comes good. I’m finding that my faith is less shaped by doing the right or wrong thing, but from the constant standing firm and holding onto the truth I know in my heart.

James 1:12, ‘Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.’