Finding Courage

  • Jan. 26, 2016
  • #8802

Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the abundance of faith in Jesus.

Finding Courage

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a word about courage.

Yesterday morning I had a difficult time getting up. The drainage tubing on my catheter had accidentally come apart during the night, and my mattress was all wet. I laid there in bed, feeling awful. Here the day had hardly started, and I was already demoralized. I felt like I just wanted to stay in bed and not face the rest of the morning. My girlfriend handled the whole thing with great grace, and her example kinda shook me out of my self-pity. So I quickly prayed, Jesus, I need Your courage, the kind of divine fortitude that picks up the pieces and keeps moving forward, you know? I knew I just had to keep going, keep moving forward. My prayer was more of a groan than a plea; mainly, I just wanted the nearness of God. And I tell you, honestly, as soon as I prayed for that, I sensed God’s bravery rise in my heart. I can’t explain it, but I knew God was on my side. He was going to give me His strength, His courage for the rest of the morning.

You know, there are lots of good definitions for courage. I think John Wayne once said that courage is your heart full of fear, yet you saddling up anyway. Winston Churchill said that “Success is not final and failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” And I like the one that goes, “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid; it just means you don’t let fear stop you.” All these quotes are really great, and they convey pretty much the same thing: courage doesn’t come from an absence of fear, but an abundance of faith. This is what Acts chapter 4, verse 13 is all about. 

Let me read it for you. Just as the Jewish elders and high priest are about to have two of Jesus’ disciples arrested, it says that “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Did you get that? Courage comes when you have been with Jesus. And people take note of it. They can tell when you have been with the Lord. There was something about Peter and John and there’s something about you when you abide close to the Savior. Others cannot help but notice the imprint of something divine about your life. They are drawn to your contented demeanor. They see you as a person of peace and yes, they even see your courage in the face of great trial.

It comes from spending time with Jesus. About this, someone once wrote:

“One day a wanderer found a lump of clay; so redolent of sweet perfume, its odors scented all the room. ‘What art thou?’ was his quick demand, ‘Art thou some gem from Samarcand, or spikenard in this rude disguise, or other costly merchandize?’ ‘Nay: I am but a lump of clay.’ ‘Then whence this wondrous perfume – say!’ ‘Friend, now the secret I disclose: I have been dwelling with the rose.’ Sweet parable! And will not those who love to dwell with Sharon’s rose, distil sweet odors all around, though low and mean themselves are found? Dear Lord, abide with us that we may draw our perfume fresh from Thee.”

That poem may be a little arcane, but I think you get the point.

You may be facing some frightening obstacles today, and like me the other day, the other morning, you feel like you want to stay in bed. Well, if I’m describing you, you need God’s courage. So get close to him, drawn near; sense his bravery rising in your heart. You can do this, you really can. Because courage is not the absence of fear, it is the abundance of faith, and faith always comes when you’re close to Jesus.

Photo: wondrousink.com

© Joni and Friends

 

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