From a young age, children imagine themselves as strong & courageous. They dream, wear costumes and pretend they are superheroes and rescuers. Someone who slays dragons, coming in to save the day while protecting those they love and even strangers they have never met. I started asking myself exactly what happens to that boldness and tenacity that God births into us at conception? The best way that I can answer that question is that “Life happens”. A few blows and disappointments can make our courage and strength to wane.
I was pondering on men & women throughout history who had to have courage to overcome their adverse circumstances. As I was doing some research on Christopher Columbus one day I came upon an article by Warren Carroll. In “Honoring Christopher Columbus”, Carroll writes: “When, after leaving the Canary Islands on September 6, Christopher Columbus and his men had been out of sight of land for a full month—a longer voyage out of sight of land than any other in the history of the world up to that time—Columbus’ men became frightened and angry. During most of the voyage the wind had become strong and the way seemed treacherous. How were they ever going to get back, beating against it? Columbus knew that further north the prevailing winds blew from the west, and planned to go north to catch the westerlies before he returned. But his men knew nothing of world geography; all they knew was what they had seen, that in these strange and empty seas the winds almost always blew from the east or the northeast. On October 10 the men of the Santa Maria came to the verge of open mutiny. We read in “The Log of Christopher Columbus” by Robert Fuson about how he answered them:
They [the crew] could stand it no longer. They grumbled and complained of the long voyage, and I reproached them for their lack of spirit, telling them that, for better or worse, they had to complete the enterprise on which the Catholic Sovereigns [Isabel and Fernando] had sent them. I cheered them on as best I could, telling them of all the honors and rewards they were about to receive. I also told the men that it was useless to complain, for I had started out to find the Indies and would continue until I had accomplished that mission, with the help of Our Lord.
That last sentence summed up the heart and essence of the life and achievement of Christopher Columbus.”
After reading this passage I realized how important it was for Christopher Columbus to have had courage and face ridicule so he could pursue his dream. Though he didn’t reach India he fulfilled his vision to reach a new land.
The brave are simply those with the clearest vision of what is before them – glory and danger alike – and notwithstanding, go out and meet it!
Why be fearful? Why let fear win? Why not take the same energy used on being fearful and become fearless!
Where does courage come from?
How do we build courage?
How do we sustain courage?
How do we act with courage?
Courage to change
Courage to stand firm
Courage to speak
Courage to be silent
To have the courage needed to do God’s will, we must study and apply his Word. All that we need to be successful in every area is found there. That is what Joshua was told to do when he became Moses’ successor: “Be courageous and very strong to take care to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. . . . This book of the law should not depart from your mouth, and you must in an undertone read in it day and night, in order that you may take care to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way successful and then you will act wisely.” (Josh. 1:7, 8) Joshua followed that counsel, and ‘his way was successful.’ If we do likewise, we will have greater courage and success in God’s service.
Joshua must have been greatly strengthened when he heard God’s further words: “Be courageous and strong. Do not suffer shock or be terrified, for Jehovah your God is with you wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:9) God is with us too. So let us “not suffer shock or be terrified” regardless of our trials. Especially noteworthy is the statement: “Be courageous and strong … Jehovah your God is with you.” Those words of Joshua 1:9 is your mantra. Put them on your mirror, your refrigerator or wherever you will see them often. They will surely strengthen you in the months ahead, as will the words and actions of other examples of faith and courage.
Courage is defined as “spiritual, emotional, and moral fortitude to speak and act without fear in the face of obstacles and dangers.”(The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible)
If we have courage, we are strong, valiant, and even bold at times.
“When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” and cried out with fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them: “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.” So, he said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus.” ~ Matthew 14:26-29 (New English Translation (NET Bible)
Let your Father’s voice fill you with courage & strength today, even when the world fills you with fear.