Standing Strong Means Being Courageous
By Leanna Simpson, Agape Executive Director
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Suffering. We’ve all experienced suffering. We all have seen bad things happen to good people. We have all seen the guilty go unpunished and the righteous be condemned to hardship. This world is like an upside-down, mixed-around version of what God says is right and true. We start to question our very thinking and start to pause at the absolutes of God’s Word. We start to sip the “drinks” we are offered and we start to take our eyes off the prize.
Our reaction to the suffering, the unpredictable, and our own humanity is to seek the familiar and the human.
We begin to emulate “fake” courage, in other words – control. Controlling our emotions, our image, making plans, controlling schedules, friendships, social circles, jobs, our household, food, on and on….it is accepted, even respected, to look like we have it all together. The problem with this “controlled” life is that there is no possible way to keep everything together. This “fake” courage is ultimately driven by fear, anxiety, or pride.
Let me pose a question to you: What if courage looks nothing like we think?
What if courage is not being the ginormous athlete who is undefeated and confident…but an ill-equipped 16-year-old boy with no real skills who ultimately defeats an entire army?
What if courage is not being the beautiful girl chosen to be a queen over a country…but the girl who decides to risk her own life to save her nation?
What if courage is not being spoiled and the favorite son…but, when you are unjustly imprisoned for a crime, you still allow God to use you as His messenger?
What if courage is not being welcomed by the crowd waving palm branches…but when you are praying alone, sweating blood, knowing the sacrifice and pain You are to endure for those You have come to save?
What if courage is having the faith of a mustard seed?
What if courage is praying on our knees in the night?
What if courage is knowing God is strong enough for my lack of faith, strength, and belief?
What if courage is being obedient to God even if I don’t want to be?
What if courage is facing all the brokenness of this world and believing that my God will someday make all things right once again?
What if courage is knowing that Jesus is all I need?
Hear this clearly: You don’t have to feel brave to be courageous. God can handle all your hurts, your pain, your anger, your yelling…God is the God who sees. He sees you and He will see you through.
In 1 Kings 17, the prophet Elijah was told by God to visit a widow. When Elijah got to her house, he asked her to use the rest of her oil and flour to feed him. This was going to be the widow and her son’s final meal. “Do not be afraid,” Elijah said to her. “Go and do as you have said. But first, make me a small cake of bread from what you have, and bring it out to me. Afterward, make some for yourself and your son, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be exhausted, and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain upon the face of the earth.'” So, she went and did according to the word of Elijah…”
Being courageous is being scared but doing it anyway.
So today, let us continue to work on learning to wait on God, listen to God, do what He is calling us to do without orchestrating how it goes, spend time with God, seek righteousness, and watch for God to intercede on our behalf…out of this kind of living, our actions will begin to appear as courageous because the One we serve is strong and people will see the dim reflection of Him in us.
1 King 19: 9-13
“Passion-Holy Ground” Featuring Melodie Malone