When I was younger, I believed I could do anything. I lived within that blissful bubble of youthful arrogance, which breeds fearlessness and disregard for consequences.
Age and reality have altered my ideals, but I’m still intrigued by courage—by the grit people exhibit when they do hard things, when they do the right thing, at great cost to themselves.
Courage is beautiful. Honorable, even.
And I love reading the stories of courageous people. When I read the story of Joshua leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, I wonder if Joshua felt courageous. Three separate times God called him to “be strong and courageous” (Josh. 1:1-9). But did Joshua believe he was brave?
I have a hard time identifying with the kind of courage it took to do what he did. My ordinary days of work, school, errands, chores, family, and friends have little in common with Joshua’s days of marching around Jericho, blowing trumpets until the walls collapsed. Obviously, a guy like that needs courage.
But what about someone like me? Is courage for the ordinary? Those of us whose names aren’t making it into history books. Those of us whose splash is quieter, whose impact is smaller, whose everyday lives are lived with little fanfare. Is courage for us too?
TAKE IT FROM THE SOURCE
I don’t feel particularly brave. And yet the call to courage is for me, too:
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (Ps. 31:24).
God calls us to take courage. To take something is to reach out for it and hold it within your grasp. Courage is for the taking.
I wasn’t born with courage. Most days I feel more cowardly than courageous. Feeling like I should have said more or shouldn’t have backed down. I don’t feel like a Joshua, but I do feel God speaking to me as he spoke to him. He tells me to take courage.
To get to the taking, I must know the source of courage. It’s definitely not within me. It wasn’t within Joshua. Even he had to take courage from another source. And that source was God.
When God commanded him to be courageous, he told him how to accomplish it:
“For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9).
When Joshua stepped into the shoes of his predecessor, Moses, and took command of the people, God was with him. When he marched around the city of Jericho again and again, God was with him. When the priests blew trumpets and he shouted along with his men of war and the city walls crumbled, God was with him.
Joshua had courage because God was with him wherever he was. And so it is with you and me. We can take courage because he’s with us wherever we go.
I’m not capable of being courageous on my own. But I can reach for courage. I can take it from someone who wants to give me some of what he has.
Think of the courage of Christ! Think of his desire and resolve to do his Father’s will and take our place on the cross.
I can hold on to him and live courageously for him. Our rally cry today is “Take courage!” Take courage, because God is with you wherever you go.
TAKE COURAGE WHEREVER YOU GO
When you hear undesirable news from the doctor, take courage. God is with you wherever you go.
When you’re exhausted from being up all night with a fussy baby, and your toddler wakes you before sunrise, take courage. God is with you wherever you go.
When your boss announces the company is downsizing but thanks you for your service, take courage, your God is with you.
When the devil whispers that you’ll never be good enough and God could never forgive someone like you, take courage. God is there.
Life is hard, and we need courage to face it. Sometimes it’s the courage to face giants and slay dragons. But most of the time, for me, it’s the courage to submit to my husband. It’s the courage to believe I am who God says I am and live accordingly. I need courage to trust He’s good even when it hurts.
We need the courage to believe nothing can separate us from God’s love when we feel especially unlovable. We need the courage to fast, forgive, obey and do all sorts of things that feel a lot smaller than what Joshua did at Jericho.
YOURS FOR THE TAKING
If God calls me to my own Jericho, I know I can be courageous because he’ll be there with me. But today, I’m reaching out for the courage to be content. For the audacity to believe that this light, momentary affliction is preparing for me an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Cor. 4:17).
What do you need courage for today? Take it. Take courage from God. Reach out for him and hold on tight. He gives courage and it’s ours for the taking.
So take courage, church. Let’s live courageously to the glory of God!
Christy Britton is a wife and mom to four boys. She writes Bible study curriculum for Docent Research Group and serves as the Discipleship Classes Coordinator for Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C. She is an orphan advocate with 127 Worldwide and contributes administratively to bring pastor training opportunities to Africa for Acts 29. You can follow her on Twitter.