In the Season of Courage

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 1:9

Throughout scripture, God calls us to be courageous. From David to St. Paul, those who were close to God were asked to be strong in the face of fear.

Jesus urged those around him to be courageous. One of the most powerful stories about courage comes in Mark 6: 50-51, which describes the disciples’ reaction after Jesus walks on the water:

“They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.”

Isn’t that beautiful? He did not just say, “Take courage.” He takes it a step further. He climbed into the boat with them and the wind died down.

This has always been God’s promise to us. That if we are courageous, He will be with us. And He will eventually calm the winds.

Of course – just as the disciples discovered – this is easier said than done. Often when we find we are facing something scary – be it a frightening diagnosis, a job loss, or the threat of harm to our families – all we want to do is run away or hide beneath the covers. It’s tempting to anesthetize ourselves with alcohol, shopping, overwork, or overeating. But these distractions don’t lessen our suffering and often create their own problems. As Robert Frost wrote, “the best way out is always through.”

We are made to be strong and courageous. As 2 Timothy 1:7 reads, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Paul wrote this letter to Timothy from his jail cell in Rome, where he was awaiting the sentencing he knew would likely result in his execution. He knows that he will not be able to spread the gospel much further and urges his friend Timothy to be bold in his next steps in ministry.

Even when he is facing the possibility of death, Paul understands the value of courage. He also knows that God has given us all of the tools that we need in the form of power, love, and self-discipline.

One of the most powerful tools we have is The Word. Over and over again God calls us to be courageous and promises us that he will be with us in the fight. My favourite courage passage is from Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” He promises to stay with us, help us, and hold us up. Courage will eventually result in comfort.

We are also fortified through God’s love and our love for each other. As 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” When we face something scary, we can lean on the people we love and have them help shoulder the burden. Everything is less scary when you are not on your own.

Each of us will find a time in our lives where we are called upon to be courageous. If we stand strong, lean on our loved ones, and allow God to uphold us, we will find the strength we need to face our fears.

 Jen Lawrence has been a professional writer for over a decade. She’s written about faith, storytelling, midlife renewal, style, divorce, parenting, critical thinking, and career change for numerous publications. She was a pioneering mommy blogger and is the author of Engage the Fox: A Business Fable about Thinking Critically and Motivating Your Team. She also writes at 1010 Park Place and The Huffington Post, and at her personal blog, Dwell on These Things. Prior to that, she worked in investment banking and management consulting. She is currently at work on her first novel, which can be described as Touched by an Angel meets The Real Housewives, as well as a memoir on her faith journey.