But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
These past few weeks have been a blur. Some days I am not sure whether it’s Monday or Thursday. The clock has lost significance and breathing at times feels laborious. As if breathing is one more thing on the list of things to do…yet, it is a constant reminder that there are some things I am grateful are not dependent on me. My life, my very breath is in hands that are more capable and faithful than mine.
This is a reassuring reality when circumstances spill you out on the highway like a misplaced deer.
We have lived on takeout for the past couple of weeks. We are like strangers in our own home, travelling back and forth across our small state with visits, appointments, lengthy meetings and discussions with too many strangers who are advising us, all having initials after their names and titles that seem irrelevant to me; In light of the One I spend time with begging for intervention, who has just two initials but many names.
My prayer life has become one fine tuned plea. All other prayer seems insignificant, and perhaps that is exactly as it needs to be. For now. Not only am I praying for one thing, one life, one intervention and deliverance with what little strength I have, but I am also being carried by the prayers of others.
This is all beyond me. It is a season that can only be seen clearly from the safety of a distant shore, somewhere on the horizon, yet to come.
Recently I stood in a hospital gift shop. Have you ever just lost yourself in a little gift shop because it feels good to be surrounded by so many uplifting messages and gifts? Just looking at each little uplifting treasure encourages me,even as I look for something for another. As I poured over the presents, treats and trinkets, overwhelmed by grace and overcome by sadness simultaneously, I came across a jar of keys. Each key had a word on it. Naturally, as a writerly type, I was drawn to the words. I sifted and sorted through each one, settling on three that were swirling around in my heart and mind. Believe, Courage, Hope. Each one seemed to hold a message for me, but I asked God what I needed most in this moment.
I knew I needed to Believe. Believe in His character, authority, sovereignty and faithfulness. I needed to believe my God was and is able. I heard the words of Jesus, “Only Believe.”
I needed Hope. Oh, the Lord knew I needed hope and I was feeling at the end of my hope rope, hopeless with no end in sight.
But more than anything I recognized what I needed most was Courage. I felt God’s presence close and tears that wanted to escape. I am a coward. Worse yet, a secret coward. Fear taunts and bullies me regularly. I doubt myself, my worthiness, God’s Word and trust no-one. This is the voice of a survivor. This is the voice of a girl who needs God and has relied on her own limited strength far too long. This is a woman whose default is flesh and whose flesh is weak.
I take the key, pay 1.29 and leave the gift shop.
“Would you like a bag?” the cashier asks politely.
“No thanks, I’ll just take it in my hand”.
So that’s what I am doing, taking Courage, friends and holding it in my hands and heart.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I don’t know what you’re going through in this season, but I know this, we all will have a season when taking courage will become the one thing needful. Don’t turn to the ways of the flesh. Don’t turn to your own limited strength. Don’t sublimate and pacify.
Our God is an awesome God.
And if you are in a season of strength and peaceat the moment in your life, pray for those who are in trials. And may God unify us all, His called, by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Linking with Bonnie and looking forward to joining her for the journey of finding Spiritual Whitespace.
Linking with Miss Kathy @ The Writer’s Reverie