I know the common definition of courage is doing something you are afraid to do, and that is mostly true I think. But not always. For instance, when I went through that 10 hour surgery on my face in 2012, it wasn’t an act of courage, even though many touted it as such. No, it was an act of self-preservation. I had to do it. I was scared not to. And it has bothered me every time someone has told me I was brave to do it.
Real courage is doing something you are afraid to do, that you know is the right thing to do, when YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT! When you have a choice. Like getting up and trying again after you have failed — when you could just give up. Whether it is to find a job, to lose weight, to write another book, to go back to church, to marry again, it takes courage to try again. It often takes courage even just to allow yourself to hope again.
When I think of that kind of courage, I immediately think of the beginning of Joshua’s story. Moses has died, and no doubt that has been hard on Joshua: Moses didn’t even get to go into the Promised Land! After all those miracles, after all those troubles! That had to be difficult for Joshua to get his head around. Then God tells Joshua he is going to be Moses’ replacement. Can you imagine filling those shoes? I’ll bet Joshua was floored by the suggestion because God tells him twice, “Be strong and of a good courage!” “Only be thou strong and very courageous that thou mayest observe to do all the law which Moses my servant commanded thee…that thou mayest prosper…”
Apparently, it also takes courage to let go of the safety of the familiar, to believe what you can’t yet see. To act like what God says about you is true, even though you can’t see it.
We have the same God Joshua had, so today, let’s take courage, whatever the challenge ahead!
“Be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee…” (Joshua 1:9).