Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.Â Â Â Â Â Â 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NLT)
I have been reading and meditating a lot this week about courage. When I was a child, I had a book that was called something like â€œMy Favorite Bible Storiesâ€. The stories of Samuel and David, Samson, Esther, and Peter were told as if they had great courage, the very early versions of superheroes! But they weren’t superheroes. They were flawed, weak humans like me and you.
Tuesday I mentioned a book I was reading, Angel in the Rubble: The Miraculous Rescue of 9/11’s Last Survivor by Genelle Guzman-McMillan. I have finished it now and it autobiography/biography book that I have read this year. This young woman has no delusions of grandeur about her own courage or part in the events of 9/11. Like most survivors, she is left with the question of â€œWhy me?â€. The answer she believes that has been revealed to her by the Holy Spirit is to take her experiences to encourage others when faced with seemingly crushing circumstances in this life. She has learned that the same LORD who rolled away the stone on Resurrection morning can also push aside our despair. Our Father who has made a way for us to come near to Him and live forever with Him can also speak truth and courage into days that are clouded with questions and uncertainty.
J. Lee Grady also brought a story, How A Brave Pastor is Fighting Child Slavery, of courage into my reading time this week as he shared about Rev. Bruce Ladebu, a Pennsylvania pastor who travels thousands of miles to Central Asia to pay ransoms or just plain intimidate slave owners who abuse, rape, and kill children who are enslaved in factories. Rev. Ladebu, with wisdom and foresight, brings the children into Christian orphanages where they are schooled and, with God’s help, adopted.
Courage isn’t the absence of fear but deciding that something is more important. Is not the teachings of Jesus Christ, the sharing of those teachings, and putting those teachings into practice more important than anything else? Isn’t that what it means to die to Christ (Colossians 3:3)?