Wednesday, 21 June 2017

I am Courageous by Susan L.

  "And David said to his son, Solomon, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed for the Lord God--my God--will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord." 1 Chronicles 28:20 NKJ

  Courage is facing or doing something despite being afraid.
  I think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. For a brief moment He faltered because He knew what lay ahead. He asked His disciples to stand watch with Him but they slept instead. He even asked His Father to spare Him the things that were coming.
   I've often pondered these events because Jesus experienced everything people experience. He has first hand knowledge of the temptations that lead us astray. I think of how His mortal flesh battled against the reason why He was there. In the end, He embraced His destiny because He knew that His Father was there to support Him during the upcoming terrible trials and eventual crucifixion.
  "Your will, Father, not mine." He said and the fear left Him. Inhuman strength, His Father's gift of courage, filled the hole where fear once coursed through His body.
  I find such comfort in Gethsemane. It's a garden I've often visited in my imagination especially when the Lord was urging/encouraging me to step into my memories, to face down the pain of past events, to "crucify" the old man. Knowing it was because He wanted me to be free, I'd square my shoulders, lift my chin and softly pray, "It's time but oh, Lord, I am afraid."
  Like a mantle, God's gift of courage would wrap itself over my shoulders. It doesn't mean I didn't' feel pain or grief or torment. Sometimes I wished it would be over.  Some days there was no hope that it would ever end. Some days I didn't want to get out of bed. Some days I couldn't feel the mantle. There were a lot of those days but despite all these things, God's gift enabled me to persevere, to boldly go where I'd never gone before.
  Together He and I would work through the tough stuff. Unlike Jesus, I wasn't alone. There have been many companions who have supported me along the way: my mom, an amazing therapist, a few close friends, the people at the centre. I am thankful for every one of them because sometimes we need love with skin on it. Sometimes we need a shoulder to help us bear our trials.
  Lord, I thank You for courage. I thank You for the inquisitive determination that demanded I find truth. I thank You for granting me the space and place to work things through at my own pace. Thank You for the gifts of art and writing that have been so crucial in breaking down the biggest burdens into manageable pieces. But most of all, I am thankful for Your Son, for the path He walked that makes mine much easier to travel.
  "Because Your loving kindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You." Ps 63:3

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