I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?

Psalm 56:11a

Fire TruckSometimes we face the unpleasant, the impossible or the unthinkable, and we lose hope. All we see is the suffering, the immense task or the loss. The following story reminds us that Jesus is right in the middle of our pain, offering comfort and strength.

Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead tell your storm how big your GOD is. In Phoenix, Arizona, a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6-year-old son, who was dying of terminal leukemia. Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination. Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible.

The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son’s dreams to come true. She looked at her son’s hands and asked, “Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life?”

“Mommy, I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.” Mom smiled back and said, “Let’s see if we can make your wish come true.”

Later that day she went to her local fire department, where she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix. She explained her son’s final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her six-year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, “Look, we can do better than that. If you’ll have your son ready at seven o’clock Wednesday morning, we’ll make him an honorary fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards! And if you’ll give us his sizes, we’ll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat — not a toy one — with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots. They’re all manufactured here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast.”

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his fire uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck. Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven. There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls. He rode in the different fire engines, the paramedic’s van, and even the fire chief’s car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.

Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital. Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition. The chief replied, “We can do better than that. We’ll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire? It’s just the fire department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?”

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy’s third floor open window. 16 firefighters climbed up the ladder into Billy’s room. With his mother’s permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they loved him. With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said, “Chief, am I really a fireman now?”

“Billy, you are, and the Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand…” the chief said. With those words, Billy smiled and said, “I know, He’s been holding my hand all day, and the angels have been singing.” He closed his eyes one last time.

— from Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart & Rekindle the Spirit

When all we can see is our troubles, we can become so discouraged. When we see the hand of God amidst our pain, our hope is restored. We remember that there’s more to this life than this world.

Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.

Isaiah 65:17–25

God is bigger than our present trials, He cares, and He is still in control. He is powerful and mighty and merciful. He will carry us through the trials we face or bring us home to be with Him. Either way, we have nothing to fear. Jesus told His disciples, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3) As believers, that is our reality, our greatest hope.

Let’s find practical ways to offer strength, comfort, and hope to the discouraged and weary folks in our lives. Let’s be the hands and feet of God to a hurting world that desperately needs to know Him… to know His power, His mercy, and His comfort. Let’s remember how big our God is!

Personal Application

Let’s meditate upon these verses that can strengthen us for the trials and tribulation life can bring:

“You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” Psalm 68:35

“…O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” 2 Chronicles 20:6

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4–5

Suggestion for Prayer

Remember the love, strength, and power of the Lord. Remember His miracles in the Bible and in your life. Praise Him and thank Him for the hope He gives.

Jim Grassi image and signature  Jim Grassi, D. Min.