Mental or moral strength to venture, perservere or withstand danger, fear or difficulty (Merriam Webster)
Isn't that a big word? Somewhere along in February or March of this year, everytime I would sit quietly with God, that big word, courage, came flitting through my head. Or started stirring in my heart. That word started appearing in newspaper articles, seriously. I would open a magazine and see that word. Seriously! Why did that word keep appearing? Because sometimes I just don't "get it" that God wants to review something with me. Remind me to tell you about my baptism sometime. That is a really funny story how He used people and circumstances to invite me to be baptised again.
After about the ka-jillioneth time of running into that word I decided to give in. Did you know God will never force you to do something? He is all about loving me (us) so very much that He would give me (us)options, options, options to explore His best for me (us...you get the picture here with the me/us). So He will throw that word at me in many different ways and in different situations to get my attention because sometimes I just don't see it the first time! When I say I "gave in" it means that after years and years of having Him show me His love for me, after years and years of trusting Him and years and years of following Him, He knows best and I want to give in to His ways.
What I've learned when God wants my attention, is to 1) spend time with Him asking Him to teach me and make it clear what I am to learn, 2) get into the Bible to read in His word about the subject.
In the back of my Bible is a concordance and I found the word courage listed. I started looking up every verse that had the word courage in it. In fact, I wrote the verses out in my journal.
Spending time with God. Did you know God is into communication! Communication is made up of two action words: speaking and listening. I can speak to God and I can listen to Him. He loves to communicate with me. This may stretch your mind a little, but the way God communicates to me may not be the same way He communicates to you! For many years God would give me visions or pictures "in my head" to teach me. I am a visual learner so I appreciated the pictures! Now those early pictures were always about food, too. He would tie a teaching point to some food-related vision! Yes, my heavenly Father knows me...He knows my love of food so He used that to teach me. Thankfully we've moved out of the food-themed visions but He still uses pictures to communicate with me.
During my communication times with God (which happens during my devotion time with Him, when I'm driving, standing in front of a class teaching, sometime when I'm talking to someone else I'm checking in with God, too, asking Him to bless the person I'm talking too) I just asked Him to give me courage. If He felt this was important for me, I wanted it.
"Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until we had crossed over, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites." Joshua 5:1
"Now when Ishosheth, Saul's son, heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage and all Israel was distrubed." II Samuel 4:1
These were a couple of the first verses I looked up. Sure wasn't a great way to learn about courage except for the fact that there have been times I have lost courage and so did people in the Bible. Hey, they were like me!! There were times they lost courage, too!
The next 10 or so verses were like this one:
"For thou, O my God, has revealed to thy servant that Thou wilt build for him a house; therefore thy servant has found courage to pray before thee." I Chronicles 17:25
To me that verse means that the person praying saw (understood) something that God wanted him to know so he had courage to continue praying.
I kept reading. Starting from the front of the Bible (Old Testament to the back of the Bible (New Testament) I looked up and wrote out those verses. I saw the word become a choice and an action. Here is a smattering of examples:
Act with courage
Do not lose courage
Take courage and do it
Saw the courage
It is there for our taking! So I've been asking my Lord to give me courage. To be honest, I don't know why He felt I needed this lesson/review at this time. But I trust Him and I know He is preparing me for something. He is giving me what I need. He is like that in all things...He gives me what I need and is always faithful to me.
Do you need any? I don't have any to give you but I know someone Who does.
Make the choice to stop right now and ask God to communicate with you. Ask Him to talk to you so you can learn His voice. He probably won't talk to you about courage, but what He has to say to you will blow your socks off. Take the courage to talk to Him but also, to listen. Be patient...He may show you pictures, He may stir something inside of you, He may sing over you, you may feel something physical. He is God. He can communicate in any language or form!
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified. For the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6