Thursday, July 19, 2018

Miriam - A Woman of Courage

We are enjoying summer picnics, hosting friends from Canada, preparing sweet corn for the freezer, and wondering how summer is flying by this fast. 

Busy summer is a good time to pull out an old article from my files. This is a continuation of my study on Proverbs 31 and women from Scripture. I wrote this last June soon after Ed's cancer diagnosis. This week I needed a reminder to keep courage. 

Miriam - A Woman of Courage

She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. Proverbs 31:17

I like to appear strong, capable, and efficient. I shy away from any impression of weakness; I don't want to be needy and vulnerable. But sometimes I'm helpless to control the circumstances of my life.

Our human weakness is especially evident in the area of our health. We may try to live a healthful lifestyle, but accidents and disease still occur. 

As mothers we want to protect our families from poor health. So we strengthen our arms, read another health article, and order more supplements. This may be right and good, but sometimes our search for health steals the place that belongs to God and becomes an idol. We want to control our health so badly that we may forget the One who truly is in control.

Young Miriam knew about the king's evil command to cast all the baby boys into the river. She watched in disbelief as her mother dared to place her baby brother into that dangerous river with only the security of a bulrush basket and his family's prayers. She mustered up the courage to stay near the river to watch that floating basket and even dared to speak to Pharaoh's daughter. Miriam witnessed with her own eyes the power of God to intervene in impossible situations.

Over eighty years later, Miriam watched her now-grown brother hold out his rod over an impassible body of water. Behind them tramped the king of Egypt with his army. With no possible way to escape, the people cried out to God, and God opened up a path through the sea.

Miriam led the women in a song of praise. “Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” (Exodus 16)

The children of Israel were not a bunch of weaklings. They had built Pharaoh's cities and were mighty in number. But God placed them in a position where muscles and numbers weren't enough, and they had to call on Him for deliverance. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7)

I need to remember that, like the Israelites, God uses my weakness to show His grace and power. Not when life is easy, not when I think I'm in control, not when I appear strong and capable, but only when I realize that I need God's power to hold up my arms.

I'm writing this a few weeks after my husband's diagnosis with aggressive brain cancer. He went from being strong and rarely sick to experiencing severe pain and unable to think or communicate clearly. We are now on a journey which has included scary statistics, endless doctor appointments, brain surgery, radiation, chemo, radical diet changes, and an unknown future.

What do we do when we are faced with a health crisis? 

Our reactions can look much like the children of Israel by the Red Sea. First may come fear. We are confronting something we cannot control, we can't see a way out, and we are scared. Anger is another option. When God allows our health to be taken, we find out how important health is. When we feel we have lost something that belongs to us, we can react in anger and bitterness. Like the Israelites, we can lash out at God for leading us into this mess which He could have prevented.

Courage looks at the facts of our human frailty and trusts God. 

Courage recognizes that sometimes God's best answer to our prayers is a glorious life with Him.

Courage is not fearing the death of our physical body, but the spiritual death that comes from a soul filled with bitterness. (Matthew 10:28)

It is normal to desire life, and we want to care for our bodies as the temple of God. (1 Cor. 6:19) God gives us wisdom to research cures for illness. But we dare not follow the example of Asa who asked the Syrians for help in war and sought the doctors' assistance for his foot disease. The prophet told Asa that God was looking for opportunities to show His power and Asa had done foolishly in not turning to God in his distress. (Read 2 Chronicles 16)

God expects us to strengthen our arms, to weave a basket, and to raise our rod. He gives us wisdom to choose how to use our resources. But we glorify God when we realize that the strength of our arms comes from God for all areas of life including parenting, relationships, finances, weather conditions – and our health. 

Like Miriam, Moses, and the children of Israel, I want the courage cry out to God and defeat fear. 

However He answers, with miraculous healing, unfathomable peace, or grace for another day, I will rejoice in His deliverance.

This article was first published in Keepers At Home Magazine, Summer 2018 issue.


  1. Gina this is so good. Your faith and courage in your difficulties is a real inspiation to me. Keep holding up your arms. GOD IS SO FAITHFUL!

  2. Gina, thank-you for sharing your story - it is an inspiration and an amazing example of how we should face unexpected events in our lives. Please know you and your family are in my prayers.

  3. Gina, I read your article in KAH and was encouraged. I'm facing lupus. The pain I'm having is not pleasant. Through all this I'm learning to trust God more and not be afraid.

  4. Gina-praying for you and your family today as your walk with God through this journey. Love and hugs!


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