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I am enthralled by the stories of those who rise up to fight the overwhelming despair delivered by critical illness, financial ruin, grief, loss, or betrayal. How courageous they seem to me. My own mother-in-law has three times been victorious over different cancers, and she smiles today. I admire her.

In some degree, it happens to most of us. We rejoice in family and friends, follow righteousness, and then boom!  Life throws a challenge    at us that is greater than anything we ever imagined.  Our first thought is shock or disbelief; our second may be hopelessness. But then, somewhere deep, deep in the human spirit is this belligerent courage just waiting for its cue. We choose to stand strong against the force of the impending hurricane, holding on for dear life and daring it to come.  This prickly sort of defiance goads us into shouting into the air, “I can do this. I can do all things through Christ Who loves me!”  And then we smile.

Surely, this desire for triumph was put within us by so great a Creator Who Himself has the resolve to stand against the attack of an angry enemy bent on destroying those He dearly loves; the patience to keep forgiving anyone and everyone.  This strength is provided to us by the Savior Who said, “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”  It is in these times that the blessed assurances of Scripture become our most valued possession, for they are true and right and powerful – and ours.

May you greet the New Year with courage and strength – because you can.

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9