God moves in a mysterious way. His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
You fearful saints fresh courage take; the clouds you so much dread, Are big with mercy, and shall fall in blessings on your head.”
– William Cooper
The weeks of Lent leading up to Easter are filled with acts of courage! The “good news” is that the courage the saints had can be ours today!
COURAGE! Courage, like love and peace and joy, is hard for us to grasp.
We recognize courage in others; we’re not sure about it in ourselves. Some have sought to define “courage” — “Courage is the price life exacts for granting peace.” – Amelia Earhart.
“Have the courage to live; anyone can die!” So said Robert Cody.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson.
“Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is the mastery of fear.” So wrote Mark Twain.
Ernest Hemingway said: “Courage is grace under pressure.”
We talk about courage and courageous people. But in order to understand. Courage, and to have courage ourselves, we need to look at the lives of some who acted with courage. What motivated them? Where did they get their strength to overcome?
DAVID was a man-of-courage! Remember David? The “people of God” were at war. Facing them was the giant Goliath! No one dared fight him.
On a day like today, the young David came to visit his brother on the front lines. David was just a kid; David had not been trained as a soldier. Yet, seeing the situation, David volunteered to fight Goliath.
They called him foolhardy. They tried to dissuade him. No! David saw a job that needed to be done; no one else would tackle the giant; so David did. Why???
David believed that God Almighty would see him through to victory. Faith in God overcame David’s fears. David had confidence in God’s strength, rather than his own, to gain him the victory.
“The God who delivered me from the paw of the bear and the lion will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine!” David trusted God; and God gained him the victory! That’s courage!!!
PETER was a man-of-courage! We find Peter standing around a campfire in the courtyard of the High Priest. He finds himself rubbing shoulders with soldiers and servants. Peter has followed the captured Jesus here.
That alone took courage. Yet, Peter’s courage is mixed with fear. Fear wins out; Peter lies, denies his Lord, and he runs away to hide in the darkness. There in the darkness, Peter weeps. Weeps over his denial; weeps over his lack of faith; weeps over his lack of courage; weeps over his defeat.
But it was there in that darkest moment that Peter found fresh courage! His faith returned; his faith mastered his fears; faith gained him victory! Peter had the courage to return; found the courage to say what God wanted him to say, to preach with power; found the courage to go and do what God wanted.
Peter returned to face his foes. He preached with great power; he healed the sick; he led God’s people by his example of faithfulness; he died on a cross rather than deny his Christ. That’s courage!!!
JESUS was the ultimate man-of-courage! Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem.” He was well aware of the danger, of possible death awaiting Him.
Jesus believed that whatever God called him to do would be the right thing to do; believed that God would be at his side; believed that God would give him the strength, and the courage to face the worst!
Jesus saw the need; to save all of us from the power of Sin and Death. Jesus found strength in God to meet that need on the Cross. Jesus’ faith was greater than his fears. That’s courage!
COURAGE! Courage is trusting God with one’s life; so that whether we live or whether we die, it will be alright! We will not fear life, or death, because the Lord God is with us!
“Courage brothers! Do not stumble though the path be dark as night; There’s a Star to guide the humble — Trust in God and do what’s right!”
By Dr. Don Kuehle
(Dr. Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist pastor in Missouri.)