Answered prayer is always a gift. My prayer four years ago was, "Lord, please bring a friend in my life for the summer months I'm away from home."
He answered in abundance. The gifts of friendships that I have made away from home are truly my treasures from a God who knows every hair on my head and exactly what I need. My Northern friends are fabulous, but God had a sense of humor when He brought into my summer world, JoJo.
Dripping with Southern charm, Jo came as a coach's wife to spend three summers with the Wareham gang and me. We never knew each other when we lived in Mississippi; Jo in Jackson and me on the Coast. It took an adventure of more than 1,000 miles to bring us together.
That first summer was healing time as Jo was recovering from surgery and treatment from melanoma. It was difficult for her to make the trip up the 28 stairs to her apartment, but it wasn't long until her strength was returning. As her strength grew, her faith began getting bigger than her fears.
Fear can become an enormous cancer itself. As it grows, it begins to choke out all joy and hope. I think that's why there are 365 verses in the Bible to counteract fear. God knew it was going to be a tough monster to conquer.
There's one place Jo has a hard time putting fear behind her and that's behind the wheel. For three summers I had the privilege of driving JoJo. We went to ballgames up and down the Cape and we had some crazy adventures. Now, I would not be your first pick as a chauffeur. That goes to show you how fear can let you put your life in the hands of something or someone you might need to fear even more.
One late evening found us lost. We were following a map app on the phone that didn't understand our location anymore than we did. It had us turning down a road, that had we not screamed and slammed on brakes, would have landed us in Buzzard's bay. Fear, faith and laughter would mark our adventures.
I have laughed with and learned from and loved my friend Jo. She has taught me much, but never more than when her daughter gave birth to baby Sam. He was going to spend time in the NICU unit. Mama couldn't drive so guess who had the honors. That's right, JoJo. In Houston, Texas, y'all.
God's got a sense of humor. She was victorious. Fear was overridden by love. She loved her children and new grandson more than any ol' fear. Scripture says, "Perfect love casts out fear." That'll preach, y'all.
If fear is overriding your joy on this journey of life, take a page out of JoJo's book and trust God. Make scripture a functional reality, take a deep breath, bathe the thing in prayer and get behind the wheel and get on with life. God loves you perfectly and He will never leave you or forsake you.
Thanks JoJo, thanks new baby Sam, and thank you, Lord for answered prayer. Fear not, trust God.
Kanid Farris, a freelance correspondent, also is a speaker on matters of faith and values.