In life, the tasks and quests we have are often preludes to other, larger challenges. There are some ways in which the quests of our life are modeled by the games that we play, if in an often artificial form . What I would like to talk about today, though, is the way in which our present difficulties prepare us for future glory and even greater challenges on a larger scale. Success in one task opens up greater tasks to accomplish where we build on the work that we have done before to do even more in the past. Yet we are prepared for these tasks because of the character and wisdom we have built from before, so that we are equipped for what we face.
Last weekend , I had the opportunity to watch a precocious three year old girl try to build a tall tower out of blocks. As is common among novice builders, she wanted to make the tower slender at the bottom and then expand it at the top, and expressed a great deal of surprise that the resulting tower was greatly unstable and could only be built so high before it tipped over. So it is with our lives. The heights we can rise to depend to a great deal on the foundation work we have. The more shaky our foundation and base, the more difficulties we will have in building on that foundation. The implications for this carry across fields as diverse as politics, theology, economics, and structural engineering. Those who know that the beginnings of their lives have been difficult  have a responsibility to take the time and effort that is necessary to build our relationships and our efforts on as solid of ground as possible, in the knowledge that the task will be difficult because so much must be done or redone if we wish to reach the proper level of difficulties.
Let us briefly give an example of how this works in a proper sense. One of my favorite biblical stories is the novella of Joseph that takes place at the end of the book of Genesis. As a child, Joseph was an immensely talented and also immensely spoiled child, favored of his father. This pampered young man told on his brothers and foolishly told his dreams of glory to very jealous and defensive (and brutal) older brothers, who wanted to kill him but eventually agreed to sell him into slavery. There his hard work as well as his obvious divine favor helped put him into a dangerous situation that ended him unjustly into prison. There his industry led him eventually into a place where he was called from prison to become the second-in-charge over Egypt, responsible for the survival of the nation (and its sphere of influence) from seven years of famine. What had once been an arrogant young man with a character unfit for power had become a humble man capable of seeing the purposes of his sufferings and capable of using his talents to serve others rather than merely himself. Once a foundation of character had been built, and talents developed, there came the opportunity for those talents to blossom. May it be that way for all of us who struggle to build on the spiral staircase of our lives.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: