April 4, 2011
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
Our pediatrician told me that my baby had a collapsed lung. The baby I'd given birth to just an hour earlier.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of faith."
They weren't the words I wanted to remember in that moment, but they came to me as I sat and listened to the doctor's news, jaw clenched and blinking back tears.
The trauma started the previous evening when my doctor declared that I needed to get to the hospital immediately. A series of sonograms and tests revealed that my son was in distress and dangerously underweight. We had to deliver as soon as possible. So my husband and I packed a bag and left our three other children in the care of my mother. We walked through the door of that hospital afraid that our worst fears were about to become reality. Faith did not come naturally in that moment.
I would have preferred that courage meant I wouldn't fear the path that lay before me. But no, my path would involve hours, and then days, learning the ins and outs of oxygen tubes, IVs, and heart rate monitors. I would learn terms like spontaneous pneumothorax and the dreaded pneumonia. My path contained a great deal of fear.
It is no wonder that God had to remind us in Deuteronomy 31:6 not to be afraid. Fear, it seems, is a natural reaction when we face a challenge, whether it is being led through the desert into the Promised Land, or being rushed to the hospital for an emergency delivery.
But the only antidote to fear is faith. And courage is not something we find within ourselves. It is the result of faith, and even that is a gift from God.
We spent five days in the hospital with our tiny son. And each day God took a little of our fear and replaced it with faith. I have wondered since if our stay in the hospital was as much for my healing as my son's. Thankfully, God healed us both.
Be strong, God said, and courageous. We can do this because He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He stands with us in battle, and He sits with us who hold the tiny hand of a newborn baby in the Intensive Care Unit. He never leaves our side. Never.
Dear Lord, thank You that You stand beside me today as I face this trial. Thank You that I am not alone. Would You take my fear and replace it with faith? You have said that You will never leave me nor forsake me. You have told me not to be afraid or discouraged. I believe that You will make me strong and courageous. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Jesus?
Susan Schoenberger's debut novel, A Watershed Year, is this month's featured novel on our She Reads blog.
A Different Dream for My Child: Meditations for Parents of Critically or Chronically Ill Children by Jolene Philo
Perhaps you're facing a different faith journey with your child? Kelly Langston's Autism's Hidden Blessings, may be just the encouragement you need!
Susan Schoenberger's debut novel, A Watershed Year, is the story of a woman who adopts a young boy soon after the death of her best friend. It is a story of loss and healing, what it means to be a mother, and the importance of moving forward. Visit the She Reads blog this week and enter to win a Kindle preloaded with a copy of A Watershed Year.
Join the She Reads online fiction book club as we discuss the themes found in this month's featured selection, specifically grief, motherhood, and grace.
Pray for someone else who is in a difficult season of life. Pray that they will trust God and not be afraid.
List five different ways that God has been faithful to you, and thank Him for these.
What is God calling me to trust Him with today?
Are there any secret fears that I harbor? If so, how can I release them to God and replace them with faith?
Hebrews 4:16, "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (NIV)
Psalm 31:9, "Be merciful to me O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief." (NIV)
Genesis 15:1b, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." (NIV)
© 2011 by Ariel Allison Lawhon. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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