A while back, I had one of those days. A stormy day.
A day where the wind kicked up and the waves of stress, discouragement, and uncertainty began their toiling. I didn’t feel brave. It’s embarrassing to admit at thirty-five years old, but when faced with the crash of thunder overhead, I felt like shrinking back under the covers like a little girl. Our family had some major life-changing decisions to make – and heaven help me – I was terrified and with a very heavy heart.
Our five year-old son had a doctor’s appointment that day. I remember it because I was dreading the visit as much as he was. The last time we’d gone for a simple in-office procedure, he’d been so terrified that he’d kicked and screamed during the whole thing. It was physically painful for him, heart-ripping for me, and totally exhausting for us both.
So on this day, we walked back into the exam room. And we both knew what was coming; another procedure that he knew was going to hurt like crazy. And just like last time, I was prepared to have to hold him down while the doctor did her best to treat him.
“I know you can get through this, Buddy.” I tried to be proactive about soothing him. “You CAN do this. Just be brave, okay? You’ve got Jesus’ strength inside you.”
The doctor did a wonderful job of explaining that what she had to do was going to hurt — but just for a few seconds. And, more importantly, it was necessary in the long run. In order to get to the point of healing, he’d have to be brave through the sting of the moment.
I was already standing, and rolling up my sleeves when it happened…
I was shocked. Jaw-dropped. Completely humbled and unbelievably proud when my little man lifted his chin. He scrunched up his face to hold back tears. He then took a deep breath and nodding, said to the doctor, “You can do it.”
When we know something is going to hurt in the temporary but develop character in the long run, it’s beautiful to stand up and have courage through the storm.
It’s inspiring to watch someone summon it.
My son was beautiful in his weakness. In his trust and humility. And he was brave. In that moment, my five year-old taught me more about life than I could have imagined. I’d been so focused on the burdens hanging over me. I’d been earnestly praying, agonizing for an answer to the questions we had. I prayed for strength. For bravery to endure the storm that darkened our skies. But instead, all I felt was the wind and waves about to take me under the water.
24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
~ Matthew 8:27 NIV
We left the office that day, my son with a lollipop in hand (for being a good patient), and me, with a heart as convicted as any I’d ever had before. Overcome, I asked my sweet son if he’d pray with me. Right there, right then. In his childish excitement, he shouted, “Yes, Mom! Let’s pray!”
So we did. We knelt on the sidewalk and prayed together, the weak one and the strong one, both asking Christ to help us take our eyes off the storm and fix them on nothing but Him.
We prayed to be brave.
I don’t know where you are today. Is there a storm in front of you too? Do you hear the thunder rolling overhead? Are you in the midst of clouds and your eyes just can’t seem to find Him through it all? I’d love to tell you I had everlasting courage after that day with my son. That bravery came easily and the storms never returned. But that’s not realistic. And that’s not who this grace-hungry, bought-with-a-price, sometimes weak, and stumble-and-fall follower of Christ is. In fact, I’ve had to kneel on the sidewalk and pray the same thing every day after that one.
I have a dear friend who always reminds me of it (and at the most perfect of times) with a simple text message. I hope it encourages you too:
Chin up. Shoulders back. Eyes locked.
Be brave, friends — even the wind and waves know His name.