Baby Girl had to have two shots today. I dread these simple trips to the pediatrician like we are going in for major surgery. Phillip takes it much better than I do and he always offers to go in my stead, but I am also a control freak. I have been to every single doctor's visit any of my children have ever had and I don't see that changing any time soon. So usually I make Phillip (and whichever child is not in need of treatment) go with me for moral support.
I was brave today. Today I asked Phillip to stay home with Baby Boy while Baby Girl and I took the long drive to Frisco to get the dreaded vaccinations. I told it to her straight. We were going to the doctor. We were going to get a couple owies but they were so she wouldn't get sick. Then we were going for ice cream. She took it well. The forty-five minute car ride was mostly occupied by her singing a song of her own creation that had a simple melody and two words: "Iiiiiiiiicccccceee crreeeeeeaaaaammmmm."
Now, you may be asking yourself why my pediatrician's office requires nearly an hour drive. Did I mention I'm a control freak? And that I don't really like doctors? I searched the world over, or at least the entire Metroplex, and finally found one that I don't feel like I need to take a Xanex before I walk into the office. In fact, I love her. She's practical, holistic, Christian, and her whole staff is super-nice. She's a gold mine. So I sacrifice some time, gas, and toll and drive to Frisco.
Our appointment took under five minutes. Two shots and we were out. Baby Girl cried, of course, but the tears were dry by the time we reached the parking lot. She told me it hurt. I told her sometimes we have to do things that hurt but when we do them and get through them that means we are brave. This made her very, very happy. The short drive from the pediatrician's office to the mall to claim her reward was filled with the declaration, "I'm brave!" And a gentle reminder that I had forgotten to get her a sticker.
Dictionary.com defines "brave" as "possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance." My Bible translation doesn't mention the word "brave" a lot, but the word "courageous" is all over the place. One of my favorite spots where it appears is in God's call to Joshua. He tells him not once but three times in a single paragraph to "be strong and courageous." It's practically every other sentence. He also adds "do not be terrified" and "do not be discouraged."
I don't know about you, but if I was Joshua I would be completely freaked out. God is not redundant; He wasn't repeating Himself to try and figure out what He was going to say next. He's God. Every word He speaks has a purpose and a point. No, He was repeating Himself for emphasis. Which means, whatever He was going to ask Joshua to do was going to be really stinking scary. He said "do not be terrified" because it was going to terrifying! Nobody has to be strong and courageous for a walk in the park. Well, unless it's a park in my neighborhood after dark but that's a different story.
The Christian walk is scary. At some point, it is going to be painful. But just like Baby Girl's shots, the pain is for a purpose. We may not understand it any better than she understands what polio is. But God understands the why of it all and we can rely on His goodness just as I hope she relies on mine. God's call to Joshua is His call to us as well. Be strong and courageous. Be brave. It isn't an absence of fear but a resolve to get through it, whatever it is, with courageous endurance. The pain is for a purpose and we too can expect a reward. So, like my precious daughter, I'm going to face the challenges with a song of praise on my lips, singing "Heeeeaaavvennn!" the whole way there.