At 7:30, she took him from my arms. He laid his chin on her shoulder, and looked back at me. His eyes were misty, and his brow was furrowed. I felt my own heart ripping and my nostrils flaring as I choked down the emotion.
It was a long hallway, but I watched till the lady in the blue uniform turned into the room where our son Jeshua was to have surgery.
He was five years old at the time. And, it was not a serious surgery at all. But, you know how it makes you feel when your kids have health problems that require more than just a teaspoon of cough medicine.
Jeshua was very nervous about the surgery, too. I comforted him with encouraging words. I said, “Son, I know you are afraid, and that is all right. If you want to cry, that is all right, too. But, this is a time I want you to be brave. Being brave means that sometimes you are scared, too, when you have to do things. I know you will be brave.” I told him about needing to be brave several times.
Later in the day, as he gradually revived from the anesthetics, he looked up at me, and his first words were, “I was brave, wasn’t I, Daddy?” I nearly choked all over my words, “Yes, Son, you were very brave. You did good. I am proud of you.”
In that moment, I understood how important it had been for me to tell my son to be brave. Those were words he held on to as he dealt with his first crisis in life.
But, Jeshua’s question really opened my eyes to something that is repeated often in God’s Word. Has it ever occurred to you how often God encourages us to be brave?
Check out those passages that repeatedly encourage us to be strong and of good courage. Take for example those the cheer that Jesus gives those who are trustful of Him. Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
Do you remember as a kid how encouraging it was to have a person of authority present with us in the dark? My Grandpaw Lineberry used to tease me when I spent the night at their house. “The Boogeyman stays around this house at night, Ronnie. Why don’t you go out and chase him away!” he would say.
I never would go out by myself. I was too afraid. But, I would go if Grandpaw went with me. He would take me by the hand, and we would walk together into the backyard and around the house to chase the ole Boogeyman away. I would do it because I had a person of authority with me.
The reason that Christians need not be intimidated by the adversities of life is because we have The Person of Authority, Jesus Christ, with us. Jesus said, “Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.”
We well know that there are many problems in life. But, Jesus experienced what we do, and overcame them all. We well know that there are evils and temptations everywhere. But, Jesus was confronted with the same as we are, and overcame them all.
Jesus never let someone else ruin His life. He never let Satan back Him down. He was never deterred from His redemptive goals. People opposed Him. Satan opposed Him. The forces of Hell opposed Him. But, He overcame them all! And, bless God, through Jesus Christ and because of Jesus Christ, we can overcome them all, too.
So often we run from difficulties. We crumble in the times of adversity. We feel like crawling in a hole to hide. But, God tells us to be brave, to be courageous, for Christian courage reflects trust and dependency on God. According to Apostle Paul, we are always victorious when we trust God.
Some Heavenly day we may ask, “I was brave, wasn’t I, Father?” And, the Father will answer, “Yes, indeed, you were very brave. You did good. I am proud of you.”
It makes me smile to think about it.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.