Be Strong and Courageous

One day last week after a long suffering bout where I had felt like I was dangling over a deep canyon and just the tiniest error on my part or a soft whiff of wind would send me plummeting into the deep and… end, many confusing thoughts and swirling emotions gripped me. It was a moment that I didn’t want to analyze things anymore, that I was tired thinking, analyzing, and trying to understand what I was unable to comprehend anyway. I was thinking that once I had enough strength and good breathing, I was going to write on my journal this: “Lord, I don’t know what to do anymore.” I was so exhausted not only physically but in fighting spiritually or even mentally, trying to outsmart my sickness and suffering. For a change I wanted to just be lost and not think or do anything.

My daisy meadow from last year.

My daisy meadow from last year.

For what could a mere human do in the face of so much hardship? I thought about the unfairness of life: the wicked enjoying a long, healthy, and prosperous life, and the people that are still so needed by their families are taken away (here, I was thinking of my friend who passed away recently, leaving her 4 children orphans, for her husband had gone before her ten years prior).

So, I was facing yet another major bout of discouragement and hopelessness.

But just as soon as these feelings of weakness and lostness engulfed me, these words flashed in my mind in red letters: Be strong and courageous.

And instantly, I was renewed to be strong and courageous again.

Then I understood (again), that there was no other way, really, in this faith that we have been given. So, I comforted and encouraged myself with these words as the last few moments of recovery (from the attack) came to an end: “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (see Eph. 6:10).

I am not a stranger to this admonition. In fact, it is my battlecry in the 14 years of being sick and suffering. It has seen me through the dark valleys and stormy seas. In the face of great fear, uncertainties, suffering, discouragements, hopelessness, and wanting to give up, “Be strong and courageous” has always gained the upper hand.

Yes, to remain standing still after each storm. For the Lord Jesus Christ is able to make us stand.

…Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. (Rom. 14:4)

It is God’s power and grace that make us stand.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Eph. 6:11-13)

Having done all, to stand. I often think and wonder why, after doing all the things that I know are pleasing to God – obeying His commands, living His Word, and not neglecting to worship and commune with Him first and foremost – still, there are prayers, very important ones, that are left unanswered. Still, illness stays and suffering continues. After each and every suffering bout, I ask in the depths of my soul, like an anguished animal desperate for deliverance, “What else needs to be done?”

And when we only hear hollow echoes of our questions and not a clear answer, we either slump down in utter dejection and discouragement or become bitter, resentful, and more doubtful.

But the Apostle Paul exhorts that having done all, to still stand. Stand and not cave in. Stand and not doubt. Stand and forge on. Stand and be strong and courageous. Stand and be faithful to the end.

I know firsthand how this is not easily done, especially in the face of so much hardships and challenges. But it is what needs to be done. Our God commands it.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:9)

I am no Joshua, but I can make the other women of the Bible who had shown strength and courage in the face of life’s trials and challenges as my role models.


There is Esther who bravely faced her fate twice. First, as a candidate for queen among other young women. What if she had other plans for herself? All that had to be forgotten for she was brought to the palace to be prepared for one night with the king. What if she wasn’t chosen? She will be kept in the harem as the king’s concubine for life. A very daunting prospect.

But she did her best and became a shining star in the palace and earned the trust and respect of Hegai, custodian of the women, and the other girls. She wasn’t afraid even ensconced within the walls of the palace that could serve her prison for life.

Then there was the moment in her life as queen when she needed to approach the king and present her petition, putting her life on the line. For any one who had not been summoned by the king and presented themselves risked death.


Who doesn’t love Ruth? A widow and a stranger to Israel being a Moabitess, she could have stayed behind with her family and the people she knew. But she cleaved to Naomi, her mother-in-law, and set her face to a pilgrimage to the land she had never been before, to a people and faith foreign to her, and to a God she had not known.

And yet, she had the heart and courage to face all that without being afraid. And then followed the back-breaking labor of gleaning barley from sunup to sundown.

And having done all, to stand.


Who would forget Rahab? She was a brave and gutsy woman for sure. She didn’t only shine hiding the spies and bravely facing the king’s stewards who came knocking at her door demanding her to turn in the spies. But to turn her back from her old occupation and start a whole new life in the embrace of Israel and her God. From a prostitute to an Israel adoptee (even capturing Salmon’s heart), she bravely yielded herself to the challenges that she faced. It wouldn’t have been easy to live normally and blissfully and to be with only one man with the demons of her past visiting her many a sleepless night. The remembrance of her past life.

But having done all, to stand.

And then there is Mary the mother of the Lord Jesus. But we end here.

If I say, “My foot slips,”
Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up. (Ps. 94:18)

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  1. Perla says:

    Hi Rina!
    Nice to hear& read your column again… though, I know you are struggling with health issues from time to time, and surely, even to most people in this world. You are so gifted, from writing & painting, baking&decorating your beautiful home, a good Christian, These qualities make you an extra-ordinary creation of God. You are indeed a lucky one!
    I have had a conversation with our pastor and I, even myself is wondering about this “unfairness in life”, and talked about our common friend, who just gone too soon, is now with the Lord , leaving 4 children , a true devotee, left me with a big question “WHY” Flashing in my mind, all the time. And he said, there is really “unfairness in life” even for us Christians. There are questions that only God can answer it when we will meet Him, he said. And he kept me reminded the life of Job…everyone has his own struggles in life , though, just differs from each. I may say that you are still lucky to be the true follower of God. Keep calm& keep it up!

    Have a nice day Ading!
    Manang Perla

    • RinaPeru says:

      Manang Perl, it’s so good to hear from you! I do think about you from time to time, missing you and your tablescapes :) . I hope to visit your FB page one of these days. That is, to silently sneak in coz I’ve been shunning FB ever since Imee passed away. I didn’t know how to grieve without breaking down coz that would affect my fragile health. I don’t want to be reminded that she’s gone. You may not know it, Manang Perl, but she and I were very close friends, from grade 1 pa. We were rivals in school but we were good friends even when we became adults. I was her bridesmaid. We traveled to Baguio to make arrangements for her wedding and those kinds of things. So many, many memories.

      Anyway, thank you so much for your love and encouragement to me. I so appreciate it, my dearest.

      Love you. Take care always.

  2. Rina, I’m sorry you’ve had an especially hard bout with your illness lately. I just prayed for you.

    Thank you for this post! Sunday’s sermon was on Joshua 1:9 : ) One thing I appreciated the pastor pointing out was that “be strong and courageous” is a command and an instruction, but it’s also based on a reassurance- God is with us!

    • RinaPeru says:

      Amen to this, Bethany. Yes, He is with us in our practicing our faith (no matter how scary it gets sometimes) and in trusting that He is in our brave and courage.

      Thank you so much for sending your love and for the prayers you sent above for me. Blessings to you!

  3. Joshua 1:9 is one of my favorite scriptures. Thank you for taking the time to write out so well some stories of people like Esther and Ruth and their courage. It’s motivating to read of their courage and how they kept their faith strong in times of hardship. I pray you feel better soon.

  4. Naomi says:

    Hi Rina I’ve been reading your posts for 3 years now from the USA and find them encouraging. I don’t know your illness but is there anything that might help your illness through changing your diet? I’ve done a lot of research about the subject. Just a thought.

    • RinaPeru says:

      I don’t understand my illness, Naomi. Even the doctors were baffled. Yes, sometimes, I make it a project to be cautious with my diet, but still, the sickness and suffering doesn’t completely go away. My older cousin (she was a nurse in the USA) died last year and we had almost the same symptoms. Her illness was called Multiple System Atrophy.

      But I am totally trusting the Lord Jesus that He will heal me. I am never losing hope, by His grace.

      And of course, I know your love and loyalty to me and my blog, my dear Naomi. Blessings to you! Love you.

  5. Life can be hard and even harder to understand, at times. Praying for you this morning.

  6. Jerralea says:

    Thank you for this wonderful encouragement, Rina! It is so beautiful of the Lord to ask us to stand, and then empowers us to do so! Thanks for reminding us of Romans 14:4.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Yes, it is so beautiful of Him, isn’t it, Jerralea? Otherwise, we’d all be growing faint and losing hope and that is not good at all. Praise to our mighty God! And blessings to you!

  7. Sherry Stahl says:

    Glad to have been your neighbour at #Coffeeforyourheart Linkup Your post encouraged my heart so much on a day I really needed it. I ended up reading it today. God’s timing. I didn’t need it last week. I needed it today. Praying for breakthrough in your health.
    Much love
    ~Sherry Stahl

    • RinaPeru says:

      God’s timing is always perfect! This should encourage us that He will not be late in coming to our aid when we cry out to Him. I often pray this: “Satisfy me early with Your mercy” (from the psalms). Thank you for the love and prayers, my dear Sherry. Blessings to you!

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