Two unrelated and vastly different situations have collided to inspire me to live more courageously. Rarely do we have the opportunity to see one example of amazing courage and selflessness, but recently I have had the privilege of hearing two stories which have humbled me and caused me to prayerfully ask God to give me just an ounce of such sacrificial love.
The first story is of a friend who is facing a cancer diagnosis. She will be going to face major surgery and a time of recovery. The hope is that she does not have to face much treatment beyond the surgery. Now, many people face such situations. Cancer is a cancer upon the psyche of our society these days and the diagnosis is far too common. So what is it that makes this person different? It is quotes like these in her online journal entries:
Even in the midst of crisis, when we are hurting, God is at work in our lives. God is at work through you and I can feel the power of prayer actively at work in my life! God bless you for allowing God to bless me through you and for the amazing support you have given.
Sometimes I tell myself, “this is impossible”, but I am the one He has singled out and pinpointed as His partner for this particular project. It may seem unbearable to endure, but I am the one He has temporarily chosen to display His glory, even in my own weakness and brokenness.
…my God carries a BIG STICK and He is directing my path. So even though I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I WILL fear NO evil… for thy Rod and thy Staff they comfort me!
I am often at a loss as to how to respond to my friend’s entries in her journal. She thanks God. She admits her fear. She encourages US to know the God she knows. Her courage is not so much demonstrated in the fact that she can go through this tough time, many people do. Her courage is seen in the way she invites the rest of us into this journey. How courageous it is to let us know her deepest thoughts and even fears and then to proclaim good news in the midst of it all. I am humbled and pray that I might be so noble, even now, but especially when I think life gets hard.
The second story is the story of a former pastor, who left church ministry and bought a crane company. He later sold that company and launched a non-profit organization called First Response Team of America. As I write this they are on the scene in West Liberty, Kentucky where tornadoes have leveled the town. This group has a fleet of heavy equipment which they use to help clear debris and rescue people in need. But they also have their own fuel truck and a huge generator they use to help communities get through the first few rough hours of a disaster.
Here are some of the “tweets” they are putting out on Twitter:
Sorry been out of touch, no cell towers /power/phone lines left . Powering gas station & grocery store now so people can get food/fuel
(this is an example of their use of the generator)
The KY fire trucks are running out of fuel. We have a 600 gallon diesel [fuel] tank. What’s ours is theirs. Lets keep moving forward
Roads cleared, next task remove all debris from hospital entrance. This town NEEDS an emergency room.
I found out about this group at a Catalyst Conference in October of 2010. They are a non-profit group who put their lives on the line in order to give people hope in the early hours of a disaster. Their courage is not just seen in the fact that they will take on these dangerous and difficult missions, but also in their selfless desire to do all they can. I was hit by that again as they tweeted about having fuel for the fire trucks — it was their fuel, for their equipment, but their focus is on the community not on themselves.
I fell in love with this group and if I was in better shape I would join them. They drive in with big debris-moving equipment to clear the roads and they plug their huge generator into the local stores, hospitals, schools, whatever will best help that community get through those first tough hours. When they help in flooded areas they even have a hover craft. They criss-cross the country going where needed. It’s not for money or fame but to serve others in need. (You can see more about them by clicking here: FRTOA.)
These two very different but equally courageous persons/groups. They both inspire me to be more connected to the bold spirit of God. I pray God will help me be so dedicated to others that I would give so courageously and selflessly – either because my own situation could inspire or because someone else’s situation calls for it.
I hope these stories have inspired you as well.
Holy high-five to you,