Be of Good Courage

     I should say at the forefront that this post forces me into certain transparency that I normally do not present. Yet I find it necessary to encourage many that find themselves fighting discouragement and dismay during this upcoming holiday season and other times throughout the year. There are many heavy hearts out there and many that are not certain if they should stay in the fight. I argue that those who are heavy hearted need not only stay in the fight but also fight a bit harder.

     Sometimes I reflect to November of 1981. I was a young Marine and not long graduated from Admin School. I was assigned to 3rd Recon in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. My plans for Thanksgiving were to go to church but my supervisors thought otherwise. Being of low rank and the newest member of the unit I was assigned the “duty” for the weekend. It was the first time that I was to celebrate with an M16 strapped across my shoulders while I donned my freshly pressed camouflage uniform. It was all I could do to keep back the tears welling up. I had to stand post and nothing was to change that. So, I kept post. It was just me and an occasional Marine passing by. The hurt and pain seemed insurmountable but I was not allowed to give up. I was not allowed to give in. I had a job to do so I remained and did what was required of me.

      The interesting thing is that there came a time when that duty was over. I was no longer to stand that post. Yes, I have had other duties since but never again did I have duty on Thanksgiving Day. The occasion of loneliness also subsided for a time. The sorrow did not last. With this I can say boldly that those of you that may be feeling loneliness and despair that this too will pass. Do not let the occasion of temporary setbacks set the stage for the rest of your life. Jesus has promised that He will be with us that serve Him and that promise has continued from the time He spoke it until now. So, be of good courage! God has not forgotten you and will reward you for your faithfulness.

      Regrettably that was not the last time I would be overtaken with loneliness, hurt and pain.  You see, I married the wife of my youth and had every intention of being married to her until the end of my life. Unfortunately the woman I adored did not feel the same way. Many things transpired that I still do not understand. Even worse my thirteen year marriage was deemed over after a twenty minute hearing by a judge in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The divorce was unwanted and undeserved yet I was caught in the middle of troubles, hurt and pain that I did not seek. In fact I fought with everything I had to dispel the overtures of our enemy. Alas, my fight was not enough. Even so, God has been good to me in that I have grown in ways that I cannot articulate in this missive.

      My point is that I know that many are going through trouble not of their making. Many of you look around your homes and see no one there. The phone does not ring and no one knocks on the door unless you are needed for something. I also know what is like not to watch certain movies because they cause tears to stream down because of the desire to have someone but there is no one. There is no one to talk with and to play with. There is no point in buying a lot of food; it will only go to waste. Going to the movie theatre is just another reminder that you are alone and it is the same reason that restaurants are avoided; it is just too painful to be surrounded by people who are loved by someone and you sit alone.

      Be of good cheer my brother. Be of good cheer my sister. God has not forgotten you and he sees you crying in the midnight hour. He knows that you have need of someone in your life and has someone out there just for you. However that person is still being prepared for you and you are being prepared for that person. Meanwhile, keep doing a good work. Hold on to the faith that has brought you to this point. Trust God with your whole heart and lean not to your own understanding.

      When the fullness of time has come God will bless you in such a way that you will know that it was no one but God. People will call you blessed because you will be blessed. No, don’t you dare bring harm to yourself. Trust God and hold on to His promise to never leave you nor forsake you. You are not forgotten and you are very much loved. Just stay the course and be of good courage.

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