Intimidation

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

As a little girl I presumed that nothing intimidated my dad. He was six feet tall and oversaw his busy haberdashery in Kingston, Jamaica, with a revolver tucked into his waist for protection against gunmen. If something broke, he fixed it. If anyone had a need, he assisted. From my perspective, troubles were scared of him.

Later I discovered that, in fact, he had encountered many challenges that might have crippled a lesser man. He was over nine years old before he met his own father. Then when he turned eleven, my father’s dreams of becoming a physician shattered when the optometrist said, “Take this boy out of school and teach him a trade. He’s going blind!” 

At sixteen, my father traveled alone by ship and then by train to New York City for a cornea transplant at a time when the procedure was considered experimental surgery. The operation was a huge success, but an onslaught of typhoid fever reversed the outcome. During one feverish episode, as his body reacted violently, my father experienced God’s presence in a life-changing way. For the rest of his life, my dad looked at the world through a deformed cornea and thick-rimmed glasses—but with a crystal-clear conviction to love and serve the Lord.

I remember entering the ICU cubicle the morning after my forty-eight-year-old mother suffered a massive stroke that robbed her of mobility on her left side. My father was leaning over her bed, singing softly, “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow. Because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know, I know who holds the future. And life is worth the living, just because he lives.” 

I learned over the next eight years as he painstakingly cared for his wife that my father had staked his life on that song’s message. Verses like Proverbs 3:5–10 defined him. God could be trusted and my dad would not depend on his own wisdom or strength. He had learned early to “be not wise in [his] own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil” (Proverbs 3:7).

At every opportunity, my father reminded his five children and twenty-one grandchildren: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce. . . Do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof. . .Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver. . . . Do not lose sight of these—keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck” (Proverbs 3:9,11,13–14, 21–22). 

My father truly never lost sight of these. If he were here today, I imagine he would still be instructing all of us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Great words, I believe, that only get better as I age.

Elizabeth A Mitchell

Photo Credit: Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash

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6 Comments

  1. Wendy #battleready

    Thank you, Elizabeth. Daily I choose to Trust!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Mitchell

      I know you are doing just that Wendy. Trusting right alongside you too!

      Reply
  2. marcy

    What a great testimony to the faithfulness and provision of God in the past, present and future. May your children, grandchildren, and great (someday) grandchildren be grateful for their heritage of love and devotion to the Heavenly Father.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Mitchell

      Thank you Marcy for that loving blessing on our generations to come!

      Reply
  3. Nancy Runhaar

    Dear Elizabeth,
    What a beautiful tribute to your Father and his steadfast faith.
    You surely were blessed by him throughout your life. You inherited his strong love of Jesus. It was so lovely to read.
    Thank You for the inspiration.♥️

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Mitchell

      Nancy. Thank you for your continual encouragement and for your loving response to this post. He truly was a gift from God in all our lives

      Reply

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