By Barb Roose
Most of us are familiar with the Allen Saunders’ saying, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” If you’ve ever been on a book deadline, you know that’s when vehicles break down, kids stop sleeping or an employer announces a round of layoffs. And sometimes, houses catch fire, a spouse files for divorce or a loved one get diagnosed with cancer. How do we keep going when a disaster strikes our deadline? Can we find the grit to sit down at our computers and not quit?
Only days after turning in the first nine chapters of my second book, my 67-year old dad was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. He’d never been in the hospital a day in my life. Yet, by the time we received the biopsy results, Dad only had days to live.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m on contract, my brainwaves flow along a staccato beat that sounds a lot like deadline, deadline, deadline. Suddenly, that beat changed and sounded like Dad, deadline, Dad, deadline.
At first, I felt guilty. How could I be thinking about writing while my dad was dying? Would I be able to grieve and write at the same time? What if I couldn’t finish?
As it so happened, I was writing a book about fear and worry based on life lessons from the book of Joshua. The powerful words of Joshua 1:9 served as both a promise and a plan for me to follow, especially because I didn’t know what the future held:
“This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Most of us are familiar with the command to be strong and courageous. But, in the midst of disaster, it is so easy to feel weak and afraid. God drew my attention to the first word in the second sentence: for. That little three-letter word unlocked a key to the encouragement that I needed to face the long, difficult days ahead of me.
The word “for” is a preposition that linked one relationship to another. Therefore, Joshua’s aspiration was inextricably tied to God’s ability. Joshua’s desired state of “be strong and courageous” wasn’t driven by his human willpower; rather he needed to be supernaturally empowered by God.
This encouragement stayed with me. My dad passed away only eight days after his diagnosis. During those eight final days, God gave me the strength and courage to help my mom love and take care of my dad during his final days.
Afterward, God gave me the strength and courage to sit back down in front of my computer and keep writing. Even as I grieved, God gave me strength and courage to keep going. I turned in my manuscript shortly after the original deadline. God was so faithful to me!
*All verses New Living Translation
Barb Roose is a popular speaker and author who is passionate about connecting women to one another and to God. Her goal is to equip women to win at life with Christ-empowered strength and dignity. Roose enjoys teaching and encouraging women at conferences and events across the country and abroad. Her latest book is Winning the Worry Battle: Life Lessons from the Book of Joshua along with the companion Bible study. barbroose.com ~ (BarbaraRoose) ~ (barbroose) ~ (barbroose)