Courage. What is it about that word that sends all kinds of emotions flowing through our veins? To each individual it mean something different and often the definition can change in an instant depending on circumstances. Webster defines courage as the ability to do something that frightens us or strength in the face of pain or grief.
Many struggle with fear and I put my own name at the top of the fear list. However I'm beginning to see that the only time a person can show courage is when they're afraid. Fear and courage are brothers! Many think it takes courage to do some adventurous thing, like high dive into a pool or drive a racecar at a ridiculous speed,but the truth is that sometimes it takes more courage just to live life, day after endless day. To face what life may give at the particular moment and still choose to step forward into that day. It takes courage to keep going after you're told you have an incurable disease, or that your dearest friend is dying or all your financial security is down the toilet. Those things, those hard can't believe this is happening things, those are the ones that take courage.
Everyone is looking for the magic-The adventure, including me. I imagine myself sitting on a beach looking out into the beautiful water and yet that's not where life happens. It takes more courage to stand up and move away from the dream and go in the opposite direction. Dreams are fantasies not realities-dreams are not life. Dreams are fluffy-they always seem to have a happy ending and they tend to make us believe that we can attain heaven on earth! Life on the other hand can at times appear stark and even brutal.
Which do you think needs more courage to face--The fluff or the reality? True it takes courage to step in to something new, however it takes the same courage to move out into each mundane day. The world wants us to believe that courage will help you find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This philosophy tends to breed discontentment and causes those of us who can't even see the rainbow, let alone the end of it, to somehow feel like failures or losers who have never experienced life.
After 66 years of life, I find that I have had to dig deep down within myself to pull up the courage that has been needed to carry-on. Sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other has taken more guts than running a marathon. And as someone who has lived life for a while now, I have this desire to tell the younger generation the truth! The truth that life comes in all sizes and shapes--ups and downs--ins and outs. And that courage will be needed to face each turn. Sometimes you can identify the curve ahead, while other times it will be totally unexpected. One moment you will be skydiving out of an airplane and the next moment that same plane, will come crashing down at topspeed! You will need courage to face the jump and the crash.
So what is the answer to this perplexing problem? Well, it's been my experience to take your eyes off of the road, whether adventurous or mundane and focus them instead on the cross. And believe me that in itself takes courage! Everyone wants to walk a path of fun and adventure, but as I said before most of life doesn't happen there. When your path takes a turn into heartache, financial loss, unexpected sickness or whatever the Lord may place along the way, that's when your courage will be put to the test.
Can you walk this path that only a moment ago seemed so bright, but now appears dim and hard to maneuver? The only way it can be done is to stop looking at the road and start looking at Him-at Him hanging on the cross and hear Him say, " will you follow me until the end?" Will you be afraid to say yes? Of course you will, but at that moment if you say yes, you will experience genuine courage and understand what it truly means. You'll realize that courage is less about adventure and more about moving forward toward Christ day by day until the end. And when our path leads us into his presence, our trials will be ended, our fears will vanish and we will never have to have courage again!