I’ve been having a renewed relationship with courage in these last few days! The roots of that word come from the French for ‘heart’ – it carries the meaning that goes something like ‘take heart!’.
It doesn’t matter what it is; whether its a ‘what do we do with our lives’ question like we have; or whether its having that conversation; making that change; or taking that risk, courage is a key currency that we can lack.
It takes a certain degree of courage to do things like walk along the pavement or drive on the road. It takes courage to try that extra strong curry or take that revolting cough medicine, but it takes a particular kind of courage to step out into the unknown. In Christian circles, we often call that faith. It is daring to go where God might be nudging, inviting and provoking in spite of the apparent odds that could be stacked against you. The pages of the bible are littered with stories of regular human folks being foolish enough to believe that God will have it sorted…and even then, being willing to embrace life as it comes, learning to be content amidst plenty, lack, abundance or famine.
I’ve been noting that, through a variety of experiences such as depression and the like, that courage can be the first thing that shrinks away. Not quite so much in the smaller things, but in the larger things. It is easy to loose track of being able to put our confidence in God and say with Paul that ‘he who began the good work in you will carry it on to completion.’ The sharp contrast for me is that early in 2015 I felt so ill that I thought my days were done…I couldn’t imagine life being anything beyond low impact survival. What a difference a year makes!
My hope is that even in taking the smallest courageous step myself, I will raise the question in the minds of others about what they can do and where they need to go next in their life of following Jesus. God continually tells Joshua to be bold and very courageous. I need to hear that now, and maybe you do too.