“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave do not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.”
The words fell from Mia’s diary when she wanted to ‘do a runner’ instead of being crowned Princess of Genovia. It was kind of corny really but something struck a cord with my feminine quest to be truly great. I showed that clip from the movie “The Princess Diaries” at the High School where I used to go to speak, I showed it to the congregation at church, I showed it to my own teenage daughters as well.
I loved that the words were from her father, no longer present in her natural world. The symbolism of his words living on after his death also caught my passion for words. Words that are so great they leave a legacy and inspire others to be brave.
I’m not brave anymore.
I am completely exhausted. I feel like the apostle Paul as I write today to inform you ‘about the afflictions and oppressing distress which befell us; how we are so utterly weighed down and crushed that we despair even for life itself. Indeed, we feel within ourselves that we have received the very sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
Fear exists but courage reigns over it.
Courage to stay focused
Courage to rise every morning
Courage to face the day
Without the letters from my Heavenly Father, I could not go on. The pages of my Bible are worn. I hold onto His words. “For it is He, who rescued and saved us from such a perilous death and He will still rescue us; in and on Him we have set our hope (our joyful and confident expectation) that He again will deliver us from danger and destruction and draw us to Himself.” 2 Corinthians 1:10
Sam’s fevers continue to spike every 6 hours as the paracetamol wears off, the nurses continue to stab her veins to extract more blood. As yet nothing has shown up in the laboratory tests and so we wait for an answer while she tosses in her bed.
The journey of suffering separates people. Many withdraw, unsure of how to react to pain. It a world epidemic, it is often not until we see it with our own eyes that we feel responsible, it’s like Brooke Frazer sings in her song “Albertine.” So we choose not to look, we choose to get on with our own lives; we choose not to let it touch us. Until it really does touch us and then we are changed.
I am guilty. I used to pray Philippians 3 over my life. I underlined the key verses to pray that started with “that I may…” eg verse 9 “that I may actually be found and known as in Him; verse 10 “that I may know Him,” verse 10 also “that I may so share,” verse 11 That I may attain to…” I used to pray “God all I want is you”
How did I miss the part that said “That I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection and that I may share His sufferings to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death,” I want the power not the suffering. Yet it is the suffering that has brought me face to face with His glory. In seeking Him through all of this pain I have discovered a part of His nature that is transforming me and my views on life.
Suffering is the unpopular gospel isn’t it. It keeps us on the safe side of the street. We stay ignorant so it doesn’t touch us. We don’t want to get involved.
Yet Paul also writes “you yourselves are our letter of recommendation and read by everybody. You show and make obvious that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
The world is looking. Are we any different from them? Are we white washed walls? Are we preaching the gospel of hope or have our hearts become stone?
Ezekiel 11: 19And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God], 20That they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
Everyday, every moment it seems, in this suffering I am confronted by choice.
Hard or soft,
Ignorant or informed,
Bitter or better,
Faith or fear.
I disagree with the latter part of the Princess Diaries quote. I believe the cautious do live. I’ve seen them with my own eyes. But are they making a mark on eternity? Am I?
My own Dad is a man of few words but he writes great letters. I find them all around the house. Partly because he sends so many, partly because I am hopeless at filing.
He is leaving his legacy. Not just with his words but in how he has lived his life. The other night when we were praying, Sam prayed “God, I thank you for Grandad. Thank you for how he has lived his life, for how he has been our role model. How he never complains about his sickness.”
My dad was diagnosed with Spina Bifida when he was a child. He was told he would live until he was 40. He has been sick all of his life but no one would know. Instead he spent his life serving others, preaching, leading healing meetings. I will never fully know his sacrifice. Yet in spite of the doctors predictions he is alive at 75.
This week he wrote Sam a letter. It says “Your courage and stickability makes us very proud. We think you have done very well against great odds. Some words said to Joshua ‘Be thou strong and very courageous for I have commanded thee. Be not afraid or dismayed. You will have victory. I will be with you what e’er betide, captain and healer, friend and guide.’
My Dad’s life has impacted three generations.
What impact will the letters of my life have on others?