One of the characteristics that all of us would love to say we possess…
But in moments of darkness, peril, or when confronting evil, courage can be hard to come by.
It is in those moments that we realize that courage, if it’s going to be resilient, must come from somewhere deep, deep within–somewhere in our heart and mind that cannot be effected by mere circumstance on the outside. Courage must be deeper–in the bedrock of our souls.
That kind of courage is impossible to simply ‘muster up’ on my own. This kind of courage cannot be ‘faked’. Many people–who think they are courageous and brave crumble when things get really tough.
Some, however, have it…courage to face the onslaught. Courage to stand against the crowd. Courage to remain faithful when everyone else seems to be giving in.
Courage to call others to follow you as you face the darkness…now, that is special!
That kind of courage is what is called for today…and God is the One calling us to show it.
He is also the One who gives it.
In ancient Israel, Joshua was called on to take the people into the land of promise. Moses, their leader, had died and now God was calling Joshua to lead.
It was a daunting task, to say the least! Joshua would need courage…but not the kind of courage he could manufacture on his own!
He needed it from the Lord.
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left,that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9)
Joshua’s courage would be guided by God’s Word, but it would come from God’s presence. God promised to be with Joshua as he led…and that gave him courage!
We are sometimes called to a journey in which we need courage.
In C.S.Lewis’ book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the crew is headed into the dark and unfamiliar waters near the island ‘Where Dreams Come True’. Not nice, fluffy dreams, but nightmares and harrowing dreams. As soon as they realize this, they attempt to turn the ship around and sail out, but realize that they are not making any headway. Panic and fear begin to close in…
“Lucy leant her head on the edge of the fighting top and whispered, “Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.” The darkness did not grow any less, but she began to feel a little–a very, very little–better.”
Lucy cries out to Aslan, The Source of comfort and hope.
She sees a beam of light shining toward them…
“Lucy looked along the beam and presently saw something in it. At first it looked like a cross, then it looked like an aeroplane, then it looked like a kite, and at last with a whirring of wings it was right overhead and was an albatross. It circled three times round the mast and then perched for an instant on the crest of the gilded dragon at the prow. It called out in a strong sweet voice what seemed to be words though no one understood them. After that it spread its wings, rose, and began to fly slowly ahead, bearing a little to starboard. Drinian steered after it not doubting that it offered good guidance. But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, as Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.”
“Courage, Dear Heart”
The courage would come from Aslan–the One who she knew would come to rescue them. He was the One over all of it…the One with the power, the wisdom, and the strength to impart courage.
With the courage came hope, and a tiny hint of joy in her heart, which grew as she knew that Aslan would lead them forward.
Today, we need courage.
Not ‘bravado’, but real, genuine COURAGE.
Courage to stand on the Word of God.
Courage to love all–and to point them to the Source of love.
Courage to remain faithful to Jesus as Lord and Savior, when the entire culture seems to be turning against Him.
The Apostle Paul foresaw a time like this, and even in his day, he knew that it would take courage to remain faithful. He instructs his protege, Timothy…
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5)
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today…this time…is a time for Courage. This is a time to gain strength, faithfulness, boldness and tenacity from the Lord! Now is the day! This is the hour to determine what you stand for.
Do not let it be for temporary, worldly pursuits. Stand for the Gospel. Stand for the Kingdom of God…but STAND!
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)