You Must Be Brave

On the drive toward home, darkness covered the winding mountain road along with my thoughts. and driving kept my tears in check, but nothing silenced his words; you must be brave, nor the questions taking root like uninvited garden weeds. Who will help me be brave when I see him suffer? Can I hope? Will he survive? Brevity, courage, anger, weakness, and fear. Will my faith capitulate to worry? I held my breath as waves bore down on me, crushing rational thought, leaving me to drown in panic. Somewhere in the crush, I heard a soft voice speak. Look at Jesus.

Tired with still miles to drive and desperate for a lifeline, I looked at Jesus. The quiet voice spoke again. Your terror, like Peter’s, when he was at the mercy of the Sea of Galilee storm is a keeping your eyes on Jesus moment. When Jesus appeared out of the mist like an apparition, stood on the storm-tossed waters, and said to Peter, Come, did Peter say I don’t trust you to keep me from drowning?

No, Peter fixed his eyes on Jesus, stepped over the gunnels, and stood the waves.

The quiet voice spoke. Trust Jesus! Nothing else will work. Keep your eyes on Him. He will keep you from drowning in your fears and show you the courage to be brave.

Yes, I will trust God to supply the courage I need for Werner.

Really? I heard a mocking voice speak. You are really going to trust God for the courage?

Now the mocking voice had my attention.

Isn’t God the one who allowed this cancer? Shouldn’t you be angry at God? Remember, who allowed your son’s brain tumor? And you thought it won’t get worse, but then, who allowed his second brain tumor? And now, cancer for Werner? Really think you can trust God?

It’s true. I can not change our circumstances and my anger at God will not heal Werner’s cancer. As my thoughts began to find calmer waters, I realized bitterness, panic, and despair overshadowed this journey with We; he would be forced to expend more energy trying to fight his physical cancer while carrying my emotional cancer only adding to his suffering.

Exhausted and sad after the night drive home, I turned the car into our driveway and shut down the engine despair left me. I understood God had reached down, and using the example of Peter’s trust, took hold of me and pulled me up out of the deep waters of my fears with the promise to be the God who I can trust for refuge, strength, and guidance for the needed courage honor my husband’s one request, “You must be brave.” Keeping my eye on Him, I was ready to begin.

Epilogue: During the journey home, my husband slept. The story, You Must Be Brave, was written from one of the chapters in my journal chronicling the two-and-a-half-year journey I took with my husband when cancer tested our courage and faith. The chapter is also the inspiration for the book in progress.

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