“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9
What do you think courage means? I think it means never ever giving up, just like 12-year old Jessica Joy Rees demonstrated in the face of two inoperable brain tumors and in the face of death. She’s been gone from this earth for ten days now, but her spirit is unbreakable in death as it was in life. Her courage, her bravery, touched people. To Jessie, courage meant fighting for her life, of courage, but it also meant fighting for other people, other children. She brought smiles to the faces of sick children all across the country through her special JoyJars. Those smiles may sound simple, but it is not. She didn’t have to reach out to others. She didn’t have to start a blog and a facebook page. She could have just focused on herself. She didn’t. Everything Jessica stood for, she lived. She became a nationally recognized face for childhood cancer awareness. It is because of her that other children have hope.
In my own life, I have tried to be brave. Sometimes I’ve succeeded, other times I have not. As I grew up, I discovered that I have a very low tolerance for physical pain. In fact, it is pretty much non-existent. Take the summer of 2005, for example. After my first back surgery, when I had that pinched nerve, I wanted to die the pain was so bad. I screamed and cried for hours every day for four weeks straight. I hated everyone and everything. I lost 10 pounds, weight I couldn’t afford to lose. And yet, by the grace of God, I got through it. I wasn’t brave. I wasn’t courageous. The pain I was experiencing took away any choice I had in regards to my behavior. I know that time period was a test, and because I got through it, I passed. I may have behaved like a child then, but that doesn’t really matter. I was blinded, figuratively, by pain. When I came through to the other side, I could see again, and I was very glad that I listened to that still small voice inside of that whispered, “Hold on. Just a little while longer now – hold on.”