My mother has been in the hospital with pneumonia, and she’s not doing great. She’s better than she was when she entered, but she’s not healed, and this episode will undoubtedly set her back.
This sort of surprise always sends me reeling. It traumatizes my heart, wears me out, and makes me sad. Everything negative is exaggerated and multiplied, and I have to fight to trust that I will find the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
One of the words that the Lord has had me thinking about is the word “courage.” Most of the times that courage is mentioned in the bible, it is mentioned in connection with the Lord being with the person who needs to be courageous. “Be strong and courageous for the Lord our God is with you wherever you go.” “The God of Angels Armies is on your side.”
Courage is required in so many situations. It is required when we must get up and be present with a sick mother. It is needed when you have to fire someone who isn’t showing integrity in his job. Courage must be appropriated when we approach someone we’ve offended or who has offended us. When you are new to a church and have to say “hello” to others when others should be saying hello to you, you must also find courage.
It takes courage for me to post to this blog. Most days when I write, I think, “Who do you think you are? Why should your words matter?”
When I’m by myself in this battle for courage, I come up short. I look at myself in the mirror and KNOW I can’t deliver. That’s why God attaches courage to HIS presence. When we go into battle we don’t go in our own strength.
I must admit that I don’t always know how to access God when the repetitive waves of life knock me down on my rump. Today I was feeling heightened anxiety over all this. There are so many impending decisions that impact more than just my life. We’ve made plans and they are being disrupted—no—totally skewed. Sometimes just taking the next step feels like too much.
So, I went to the waiting room and listened to worship songs with my eyes closed. Peace overtook me. I was reminded and sensed his presence as I listened to “Sing to Jesus,” by Fernando Ortega, “Still,” by Watermark, and “You Raise Me Up,” by Selah.
Today (May 14, 2014) we will consult with hospice. We face hard things for which I am unprepared. I don’t know how to go forward, but I do know the ONE going with me. He has promised presence, peace, and wisdom. In the light of the unknown steps ahead of me, that has to be enough. O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8
Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart is appalled within me…I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands. I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, or I will become like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; for I trust in You; teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul…For the sake of Your name O Lord, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble…for I am your servant. Psalm 143:4, 5b-8, 11, 12b