The first time we brought Nicholas to the psychiatric emergency department, I thought I had used up all my courage. I could not imagine ever being able to exercise more fortitude than that act took, or overcoming more mental and emotional resistance. I had no idea God could keep deepening the well of bravery inside me. I didn’t know that the drilling down for more courage could eventually tap into a spring of water welling up from divine love.
In the Bible, the book of Exodus tells the story of how God used Moses, a disgraced prince turned shepherd, to deliver the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt. When Moses first hears God’s call to free his people, he is less than enthusiastic. He doesn’t want to go. He feels unqualified. He doesn’t think anyone will listen to him or believe him. Finally, assured of God’s presence, though still unsure of himself, he goes. He appears before the ruler of Egypt. He demands that Pharaoh let the Israelites go.
It doesn’t work.
Pharaoh not only refuses, but he gets angry and oppresses the Israelites even more. The people are completely disappointed and mad at Moses.
“Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all.”” Exodus 5:22-23 NASB
I sympathize so much with Moses here. Today, I can look ahead and see there are a bunch of chapters left in the story. But what looks like waiting to me must have felt like betrayal and abandonment to him. He thought he had done his big, brave thing and failed miserably. He thought all his courage and resolve had been poured out and wasted. But his acts of courage, the wonders of God, and the miraculous deliverance had not even really begun.
When we met with the doctor during the first visit to the emergency department, we were instructed to get Nicholas into the highest level of care as soon as possible. I felt just like I imagine Moses felt- that things were going from bad to worse and I had already used up every ounce of inner strength.
It wasn’t true for Moses, and it turned out to not be true for me either. Yes, there was a long, arduous, terrifying journey ahead. There were times we were stuck between an army and an impassable sea. But that first day, I had not yet even begun to see how God could and would provide. The courage and strength when I needed to do the next hard thing. The tenderness and love when my heart was broken. The patience and endurance when I was depleted.
Dear friends, I pray today for all of us- the courage to do what today requires of us, and the trust that God will provide fresh courage for tomorrow.