Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” (HSCB)
Courage can mean different things to different people or different things in different situations. Courage is most often associated with physical heroics but we do things everyday that require courage. The late actor John Wayne is quoted as saying, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” I asked several people for personal examples of courage and answers ranged from asking someone on a date to skydiving. For me buying a house took great courage. I had wanted a house of my own for years but signing my name to that page with all the dollar signs gave me the shakes! In Acts 4 Peter and John are arrested because they were teaching the people and proclaiming resurrection from the dead, using Jesus as an example (4:2). After a night in jail, they were brought before the Jewish Council and someone made the mistake of asking Peter by what power had he healed the crippled man. Verse 8 says that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. Wow! I bet that was something to see! Peter has had moments of being intimidated but this isn’t one of them. To be certain they knew who provided the healing power, Peter gave Jesus’ name, title, and hometown, and, just in case there was still any confusion, describes the Jewish leaders’ treatment of Jesus. After lots of whispering, head shaking, and exasperated sighs (okay, that part isn’t in the scripture but you know it happened!), The Council commanded Peter and John to stop what they were doing (v.18); Peter said “Yeah, you wait for that” (my rewording of v. 19), and after more threats, they left the temple. Peter and John knew the potential consequences of their disobedience. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego of Daniel 3 faced the consequence of their disobedience. Isaiah 7:9 says “unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.” They had resolved to trust God and do His will no matter the cost. God always gives us strength to do what He has commanded, but the strength may not be evident until we step out. Joshua 1:9 says to be strong and courageous because God is with us wherever we go. God knows that we need courage. Surfer Bethany Hamilton is quoted as saying, “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.” I pray that the Lord will give me a courageous heart, a heart that will follow Him even when I am afraid, and that I will live the life of courage He planned for me. Billy Graham once said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Lord, You know the problems and situations I face daily. Help me to face it all bravely and to be someone who helps others be brave as well.