Receiving Courage

First I talked with Sarah (not her real name). Sarah’s husband was in prison for speaking the truth about Jesus. He and others were sentenced to five years in prison. It was appealed, but in the meantime, Sarah and her two children waited.A stray tear rolled down her cheek as she told me that they were proud of their husband/father, but they miss him terribly. They were proud that he was sharing in the Lord’s suffering and telling others about Him. They were determined to keep their faith strong and continue to serve God. They were demonstrating real courage.Then I met with Julia (not her real name). She too shed tears as we talked. She and her two children also missed their husband/father. He was murdered for speaking boldly about Jesus. They didn’t understand why this happened. The pain was humanly unbearable. But they knew he was a brave man who loved God. Julia was determined to continue in ministry—to honor her husband and to honor her Lord. Courage is a word that applies to her also.We all need courage—often. Sometimes that courage is for great, life-shaking events, losses, pain. Sometimes it is for less dramatic events, but courage is still required.  We need courage to face our fears, our uncertainties, our confusion. We need courage to step into the unknown, to try something new, to take a risk. We need courage to let go and to embrace.Most of us will not encounter the traumas that Sarah and Julia endured. Our fears and doubts and reluctances may be in different arenas. But each of us will have those times when we need to throw ourselves completely on God—and the mercy, grace, strength and courage that He alone can provide.He is so faithful to ENCOURAGE us—to put courage in us.He said to Joshua: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.The Lord Jesus often said to His disciples: “Do not be afraid.” He promised to be with them, to take care of them, to provide for them.And He says the same to us: “Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous.” In every test, each trial, with each fear, every risk, with all terrors and uncertainties, Jesus is there to ENCOURAGE us—to give us the measure of courage we will need.And He often uses us as his instruments of instilling courage in those we love, work with, minister to: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) What a privilege!May God give you courage today.c Judy Douglass 2010