Recently a friend and I were talking about going through trials in our own lives, and then about how much we enjoy, and are encouraged by stories/history where people go through difficult things, yet they keep going, and don't give up. My friend pointed out that we see the whole story, how everything worked out, and often we can see why the bad stuff happened, that it really was for good. Yet in those stories the characters didn't know why, or how it was going to end.They struggled with the same pain, fear, loneliness that we do, yet kept going. A helpful thought!
That conversation brought to mind my very favorite part of The Lord Of The Rings movie where Frodo thinks it is too hard and wants to quit, and his loyal friend Sam won't let him......"Those are the stories that stay with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand. But I think now I do understand. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't - they kept going because they were holding onto something...."(and as a disclaimer let me just say this is from a story I found encouraging, I'm not saying that we should just be holding onto the hope of good in this world!)