“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
After more than four decades of quadriplegia, I’m tired. My bones are weary from battling everything from pressure sores and pneumonia to stage III cancer. My question these days is never “Why, God?” It’s most often “How?” How do I keep on going? How do I care about others when I’m consumed with my own physical challenges? How can I be kind and civil when pain wracks me?
The other morning Ken could see the weariness in my eyes. Right before I wheeled out to go to the van, he said, “Wait here; I know exactly what you need.” He rushed back with a yellow post-it note. On it he had penned the letter ‘C’ with a felt-tipped marker. I gave him an odd look. “It stands for Courage,” he said, “the courage of Christ. I can see it in your eyes, Joni, and you can do this day. I know you can!” With that, he pressed the post-it on my shirt, right above my heart.
I can’t explain what happened next, but I could feel God’s encouragement. Ken only said a few words, but they were brimming with power and life. His was a declaration of the good he saw in me; or, at least the good he wanted to see. And God gave me his amazing grace to rise to the occasion.
Even the best of Christians can feel the weight of weariness. It’s why Hebrews 3:13 tells us to “Encourage one another daily.” Think of the people you’ll see today: friends recovering from surgery, neighbors dealing with grief, coworkers coping with pain. Whether you say it in an email, over the phone, or in person, your words have the capacity to change their countenance and character. And the best word? The Word made flesh, Jesus, who always has courageous words of life.
Oh, Father, I need the courage of Christ to face this day’s demands. Thank you for making me strong in him.