Courage is much more than going into battle not knowing whether you will walk out alive on the other side of it! Many people, and many of them are God’s people, are so enmeshed and entangled in things that are abusive, destructive and hurtful that it is mind boggling.
True courage is facing an unseen enemy that ravages your body or your mind day after day. You ask yourself a thousand questions. Why me? Why do I have to go through this? What did I do that was so bad that I deserved this? Will I survive this? Will I ever get to do the things I always dreamed of? Why does God hate me? Why is God punishing me?
True courage is going back to work or school where you are ridiculed and abused for your beliefs, for the way you look or for the way you dress. You ask yourself a thousand questions. Why do people hate me so much? Why should I go on? Wouldn’t it be easier to just quit? Why must I suffer so much shame? Why doesn’t God step in and help me?
True courage is living in an abusive relationship with someone you love who hurts you so much you can barely continue from one day to the next. Again, you ask yourself a thousand questions. Why does this person hate me so much? Why does this person treat me so shamefully? Why does this person say they love me and then only hurt me? Why doesn’t God stop this?
In the King James version of the Holy Bible, courage is mentioned 20 times. In all but four verses, we are told to “be strong and of a good courage!” Courage is going on when we are so full of pain, shame or rage we can’t think straight. It is putting one foot in front of another when we really, really don’t feel like it and would give anything to not have to. Courage is getting up in the morning knowing full well today will probably be more terrifying than yesterday, but we get up anyway. When our body, soul and spirit are numb with fear and we continue to look for an escape route, it takes courage to even see one ray of opportunity.
In almost every case, we will turn to God and say “How could you?” or “Why didn’t you stop this?” And yet, if we look at it a little closer, we will eventually realize it is not God who causes these things. It is the evil and sin in the world we live in. And, it is the enemy of our souls who hates us almost as passionately as God loves us! We live in a world where the curse is active because people fell from grace when satan tempted Eve and she and Adam sinned against God.
Death, as well as all disease and poverty came as a result of the curse. Billions and billions of dollars are spent each year to combat the onslaught of disease. Yet, mostly it is a fight to hold ground as rarely is a cure ever discovered or affected for any of the many diseases men are plagued with. Medicine treats symptoms and rarely tackles the cause of any malady. As we see all the evil and quiet desperation that surrounds us, we wonder why is it that God doesn’t do something about it. We remember innocent lives taken in the name of religion, friends who were tortured and murdered for the sake of truth, and all the evil committed against innocent children. Who can deny the awful truth of all this and just where is God in all of this?
What surprises most people is that God is right there in the midst of all of the pain and anguish. He loves us. He really does. When we walk through trials and desperate situations, He walks with us and sustains us. Yet, there is the matter of justice and righteousness. God has given each and everyone of us free choice. We choose to become addicted to so many things. We choose unhealthy life styles and then ask why we are sick. We knowingly and blatantly disregard God’s Word and His rules for living and then wonder why satan has so much influence in our families and in our lives. We can choose to turn away from evil and turn back to the light too.
People going through difficult and trying circumstances need to know that God is right there – right there with them. He knows about every pain they suffer and every tear they shed. The best thing people going through tough times can do is to turn to God and ask Him for His forgiveness, His peace and the strength and wisdom to carry on. He has already done everything needed to set us free. He may or may not remove the situation or the disease, or the people who are causing the problem. But, He will make a way to endure it and come through it – stronger and more certain of His love and compassion than we could ever have imagined. The answer is simple and the answer is Jesus. He is the light, the life and the way! He paid the price we couldn’t pay! He paid the price in full and all we have to do is believe and receive it!
The Lord tells us to be strong and of a good courage! Believe me, it takes both to survive in this world we live in. The world seems to be getting darker and darker with more evil and sinful ways to torture and hurt us than we ever imagined. satan is having a field day ripping and rending, stealing, killing and destroying; and getting us to help him in the process.
Do you want to know what courage really looks like? It’s a child with cancer who reaches over and pats his mother’s hand and tells her it will all be OK. It’s a young man, stricken in the prime of life with a debilitating disease who laments over how much pain this illness causes his loved ones. Courage is finding the inner strength to be kind when all you have ever known is brutality and abuse.
Do you want to know what courage really looks like? It’s a God who became a man, who suffered so much torture and pain that you couldn’t tell he was a man when you looked at him. Sinless and faultless, He went to the cross – the most painful and humiliating death ever invented so that you and I wouldn’t have to ensure that pain or shame. And, all we have to do is believe it and receive it!
Praise God for His mercy, His love and His wonderful peace! Praise Him for His healing, His redemption and His salvation for He is mighty to save! Praise God for Jesus and the courage to go on in the face of despair, evil and wickedness! Praise God that He is with us no matter what we go through! Praise God that we are made in His image and once we have Jesus nothing can pry us from His grip no matter how hard it tries! Praise God that we will be with Him forever someday! Praise God that there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more disease and no more death to face in heaven! Even so, Come Lord Jesus!