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Why Book3 min read


Afraid of Dying — Part 4

Vernon Brewer
Dec 21, 2018

Last week, in an excerpt from my book Why, I shared the first lesson I learned about perseverance throughout my long and difficult battle with cancer. I learned perseverance is not deliverance FROM trials … it is endurance IN trials.

But that’s not the only lesson God taught me while the hospital was my classroom.

So today, I want to share the conclusion of that chapter in my book and hopefully inspire you to keep persevering today … no matter what you’re going through.

* * *

The second lesson I learned is that we need to realize endurance is a process. The acquisition of endurance is not something that happens immediately once and for all.

Wouldn’t it be great if we only faced one test in life … only one test in high school … only one test in college? Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Human nature tries to bypass painful circumstances. But circumstances don’t make us what we are. They reveal who we are. We may not be able to change the circumstances in our lives. We can, however, choose how we respond to them.

One day, not long after surgery, I received a long-distance phone call from my father. He said, “Son, I have a verse to encourage you today.”

“What is it?” I asked. “I could use a little encouragement.”

“Isaiah 40:31,” he replied.

“But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

My first response was, “Dad, I know that verse. I’ve heard that verse. I’ve quoted that verse. I’ve even preached from that verse. That’s what I’m asking God to do … to help me fly high on wings as an eagle.”

“Wait a minute, son,” he replied. “What does that verse say you must do before you can fly high as an eagle?”

“Well, it says you need to renew your strength.”

“And what do you need right now in your life more than anything else?” he asked.


“So, where will you get that strength? How will you get that strength? And how does God want you to receive that strength?” he asked.

“By waiting on the Lord,” I said. Do parents always have to be right?

It’s very difficult to wait on the Lord. I was very good at serving the Lord. I was great at church attendance and worship … but not so good at waiting.

Learning to wait on God and spend time in His presence takes work.

The benefit is that in the face of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety, we can be strengthened as we wait on the Lord!

Whether we are afraid of dying … losing our children … or being all alone, we can hand our fear and our situation over to God. We don’t have to waste valuable time worrying about the unknown.

World War II concentration camp survivor Corrie ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”

We can rest in the assurance that there is a purpose for our trials and wait on Him to bring it to pass.

God has a purpose and a plan for your trials and has promised never to leave you as you face the greatest battles of your life. You don’t need to fear death, loneliness, bankruptcy, or anything else. Why? Because God will be right there with strength and guidance.

* * *

If you don’t feel like you have the whole endurance thing down yet, don’t despair! God doesn’t expect you to — in fact, He may be pushing you beyond your limits so you will be forced to rely on His strength.

When you do, He promises you fly high on wings like eagles. Think of that! Even if you’re feeling at your lowest right now, God says He will help you soar!

One way that you can renew your strength as you wait on the Lord is by spending time with Him in prayer, which I’ll discuss in the next excerpt from Why next week. If you want to read more of Why? Answers to Weather the Storms of Life now, you can order a copy for just $8.99.


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