Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens us.
A dear friend spoke these words during our conversation regarding us a Christians, “Courage is what we need.” Our conversation happened a while back, but these words seem more relevant today than when first spoken.
After visiting with my friend that day, “courage” stayed on my mind. I thought back over my own Christian walk and the times that necessitated courage or the ability to do something that frightened me. I want to share a few of those stories.
How Courage Came Through For Me
Courage Story #1
I once wrote a letter about the healing power of Jesus to a local restaurant manager, whom I met only once. Why did I write the letter? While in his restaurant, he told me about suffering with physical pain.
Before I go any further with the story, I need you to realize that the first Bible study I ever wrote, Quest For Wholeness: Healing The Broken, was based on my study of Jehovah Rapha, the Lord God Who Heals Us.
However, in that face to face moment with the restaurant manager, I was too afraid to tell him about the healing power of my Jesus. Fear won out that night and I left the restaurant feeling like I disappointed God.
The following day, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the man and what I knew and experienced in my own life that could help the man’s suffering. I prayed and asked God to forgive me for allowing fear to hold me back, committed to do what He wanted me to do, and asked for the courage I needed to do it. Then, I wrote a letter telling the man about my own healing experience and what Jesus did for me, He wanted to do for him. That day, I drove to the restaurant and handed the man the letter.
Courage Story #2
About fifteen years ago, I could not participate in something in my neighborhood with my neighbors because of deep personal convictions based on my personal salvation experience. God led me to write a letter to everyone in my neighborhood and explain why, knowing that some would not understand. Afraid of the response I would get, I prayed and asked God to make me brave, and He did.
Courage Story #3
Several years ago when teaching a women’s Bible study group, a woman made a remark just before I stood up to teach that contradicted the lesson from the Bible that I was about to teach. I had to decide if I would honor God in the face of possible rejection or maybe even anger. In those brief moments before I stood to teach, I prayed, “Lord give me the courage to fully teach what You want me to teach.”
That happened in the beginning of my teaching career. However, I have had so many similar situations happen since then. Every time, I call on God in those moments to give me what I need to teach His message anyway.
Courage Story #4
One day God prompted my husband and I to invite a homeless person to join us for lunch at a restaurant. I remember the feelings of apprehension and fear of what others would think or do. We faced the fear by asking God to give us the courage we needed to do what He wanted us to do. He was faithful. Since that time, we have had that same opportunity on other occasions.
Courage Story #5
Traveling home from seminary one day, I prayed, “Lord use me to change the world.” As I prayed, I saw a man on the side of the road asking for food. I heard God speak in my Spirit, “Are you willing to do that one person at a time?”
I drove on and argued with God. He wanted to give him food, but I told Him how it wasn’t safe. I was out in the middle of nowhere all by myself. What if he attacked me? I knew what God wanted me to do, and I knew if He called me to do it, he would protect me through it. I prayed and did what God wanted me to do.
Courage To Do What We Fear Comes From God
I am reminded of a song I love, You Make Me Brave. Bravery is a synonym of courage. This song reminds me that God gives us the courage we need to do and live as He calls us.
My stories seem so minimal, but courage is first necessary in the small things. If we are too afraid to obey God in the small stuff, how can we have courage in the big things? The Bible is filled with “fear not’s” and “have courage’s.” In the Old Testament, God called His people to courage repeatedly and in the New Testament, He filled His disciples with courage.
In Acts 4:24-29 Jesus’ disciples prayed and asked for holy boldness.
Here is what happened.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
I hope you see in my stories that I prayed and asked God to give me courage. The key to living a courageous life in Christ is prayer. We don’t need courage in easy circumstances. We need it when fear threatens us and causes us to wonder if we should simply retreat. Fear tempts us to let go of our strong stand in a world that judges us as judgmental. We will be called “haters” when we don’t agree or accept things contrary to our faith and our God.
When fear threatens, pray and ask God to give you the courage you need to stand strong and face difficult circumstances and/or people. God called us to be different, to live a holy and life set apart for His glory. That kind of life takes great courage.
Or maybe I should say, That kind of life takes God!