Prayer number seven in Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To is God, Give Me Courage. Here is an excerpt from this chapter:
C. S. Lewis said that “courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point, which means at the point of highest reality”. In saying this he was following in the tradition of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, who believed that all the virtues–if they are to be of any practical value–must act with a “firmness” that can only be maintained by courage. In other words, for a person to be honest or merciful or chaste or magnanimous or patient, he must first have the courage to overcome all the obstacles that stand in the way of practicing those virtues. At some point, strong temptations are going to present themselves. That’s the moment when courage is most important. Essentially, a person must have the guts not to give in. Courage–or fortitude, as it used to be called–is needed in life to do any kind of good or resist any kind of evil. You need courage to follow all the commandments, to face physical danger, to overcome fears, both rational and irrational. You need courage to struggle against neuroses and phobias, to overcome addictions, to persevere through life’s difficulties, to endure suffering. That’s why Churchill wrote that “courage is rightly considered the foremost of virtues, for upon it all others depend.” And why Franklin Roosevelt said “the only thing to fear is fear itself.” Both of these leaders understood the all encompassing importance of courage.
My prayer for courage came when a message was left on my answering machine to call the specialist mentioned in the previous chapter. But the problem was, the message was left at 11 a.m. and he wasn’t going to be available until 1 p.m. I admit it…I was afraid! That two hours seemed like two years! Fear permeated my body for that two hours and I did not want to make that phone call. I wanted to pretend it didn’t exist and I could just get on with my life. As 1 p.m. approached, after praying to be relieved of the fear, my prayer was now for the courage to make the phone call. And I did. “There’s cancer in the top lobe of your right lung.” My new-found courage took over as the specialist explained the procedures to take place in the next two weeks. Fear now took a back seat to the courage God provided me with for the next twelve months of surgery and treatments. (This year is my tenth cancer-free year!) TYG!
Tomorrow: Sometimes being Smart Just Isn’t Enough…God, Give Me Wisdom