"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might."
~ Ephesians 6:1
The double- drug chemo day was this last Tuesday morning. I hadn't slept well the night before so I actually slept for most of the infusion. But there was something that I did notice before I fell asleep that caught my eye. A good portion of the people that come in on Tuesday (the day I always go in) are the same. There can be some new faces that I haven't seen before but many are the same ones every week. One woman in particular I have admired because she seemed to be the picture of grace. She was always nicely dressed having a beautiful head scarf tied neatly or a wig. She was always put together well and often smiling. This last Tuesday morning she came in with nothing on her head at all and was that way for the whole of her time there. I don't think that anyone was shocked but my thought was, "Wow ~ she is brave!". What was it that she was trying to say by not wearing anything to cover up her bald head? Little did I know that this was her last treatment. I found that out as she started to leave and rang the bell that the nurses have put out for those who have completed their chemotherapy. As we all clapped for her I saw her pause but not turn around. She walked quietly out the door.
What is the definition of someone who is strong and brave? We all like heroes. I wonder if, instinctively, we know we need to be rescued. We admired those who have done something extraordinary and have survived it. And I'm sure that most of us secretly wish that we were stronger and more brave. Most of our good intentions break down in the face of reality. So we look to something else to help us be what we cannot be in and of ourselves. Failures and hurts of the past can cause fear of the future and, therefore, cripple us to move forward. Wasn't it Elizabeth Elliot who encouraged us to "do the next thing". Even Martin Luther, the great reformer, said to "sin boldly" (Please understand what is meant here. The emphasis is on being bold not on sinning. Do something with boldness and if you sin, repent and go on).
Today is Friday which is one of the days where the chemo hits me. I'm not feeling particularly strong and, therefore not too brave either. So I look to that Someone who is mighty and more than able to lift me up and cause me to put the next foot forward. Through Him we have been given the tools to wage the battle of this day. Therefore, in all circumstances, the shield of faith is mine and causes me to look to Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of this wondrous faith.
I don't know that I will ever go without something on my bald head. But I do want to be strong in the Lord. So with that being said, I'll leave you with this song written by Henry Smart in 1836:
"Lead on, O King eternal, the day of march has come,
henceforth in fields of conquest thy tents shall be our home;
through days of preparation thy grace has made us strong,
and now, O King eternal, we lift our battle song.
Lead on, O King eternal, till sin's fierce war shall cease,
and holiness shall whisper the sweet amen of peace,
for not with swords loud clashing, nor roll of stirring drums,
but deeds of love and mercy, the heav'nly kingdom comes.
Lead on, O King eternal: we follow, not with fears,
for gladness breaks like morning where'er thy face appears;
thy cross is lifted o'er us; we journey in its light
the cross awaits the conquest; lead on, O God of might."