“Mama?” my eleven-year-old asked. “What would you say if someone held a gun to your head and asked if you were a Christian?”
This is one of those times when I wish she could still fit on my lap. Because I’d love nothing more than to fold her into my arms and stroke her hair while we talk weighty and hard things.
Since she’s not far from being as tall as me and too mature for lap-sitting, I settled for reaching out to hold her hand and looking deep into her eyes.
“I would say yes.”
She looked doubtful, her gaze drifting down to our joined hands.
“Do you want to know how I know?” I prodded gently.
At her nod, I continued:
“Let me tell you a story.”
It was just another day, just another morning waiting for my son’s turn to receive his monthly allergy injection.
When my cell phone chimed to announce a call, I answered absentmindedly. “Hello?”
“Hey, babe. It’s me. The doctor just called.” My husband’s somber tone immediately set warning bells ringing and my stomach knotting with dread.
“And?” I asked quietly, with hushed tones to avoid my children’s curious ears.
I became hyper-aware of my breaths.
In and out. In and out. Dear Lord, help me!
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
In and out. In and out. Please, God, I can’t do this without You.
“Well, not really. I have cancer,” his voice now betrayed his tears. “Are you okay? You sound fine. Are you not upset?”
In and out. In and out. Sweet Jesus.
“I am, but I’m in a waiting room with the kids. I’m sorry, hon. I need to go. It’s almost Trevor’s turn.”
“Okay, hon. Love you. Call me later.”
“I will. I love you, too.”
Grace to say “Yes”
“Mom, I don’t understand. I didn’t ask you about Dad’s cancer. I asked you about someone threatening to kill you for being a Christian.”
I measured my next words carefully, knowing I couldn’t afford to be reckless. Not about this.
“I know, sweet girl, but that day and in the days and weeks and months that followed, I learned something very special while your dad had cancer. You see, there was a time when I couldn’t fathom having the strength to bear the weight of a cancer diagnosis. It was my worst fear, and I just knew I could never endure such a trial. Yet there I was. There we were. Bearing it. Enduring. Surviving. Thriving, even.”
She waited, puzzled, so I continued.
“Michaela, that season was a priceless gift, because God proved before my very eyes that He will always keep His promise to give us enough grace. He gives enough grace on regular days, and He gives enough grace on hard days. And even though my future and yours might hold things that we cannot even fathom, and might require amounts of grace that right now seem questionable or even impossible, God will keep His promise to give enough, no matter how much ‘enough’ requires.”
She pondered this for a moment. “So sometimes enough is really a lot?”
I hope my smile conveyed the tenderness I felt for this daughter of mine as I smoothed her hair.
“Yes, that’s it exactly. When we need a lot of grace, that’s how much He gives. Even if we can’t comprehend what that looks like right now, we can trust that God will be there waiting to hand it to us when we get there.”
“So when you sound so sure about saying ‘Yes, I am a Christian,’ even if it means you’re going to die, it’s not because you’re sure of you…” she hesitated.
“It’s because I’m sure of Him.”
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you,
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
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