“I leave the gift of peace with you – My peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but My perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous!”
– John 14:27
Webster’s Dictionary defines courageous as such;
- not deterred by danger or pain; brave
- characterized by courage
- courage; the ability to do something that frightens one
- courage; strength in the face of pain or grief
- courage; ready to face and endure danger or pain.
Here’s the deal. We often times think of courageous individuals as those who face outward danger or a present threat of pain in the natural realm; think fire fighters, police officers, cancer survivors, military personnel, etc. And y’all, these are very brave souls. They deserve to be honored and respected.
But they aren’t the only courageous ones.
Courage is not allowing exterior circumstances, current or threat of danger to wreak havoc in our souls. Here’s my thought. We all have a sad story (or 12) to tell. At some point in each of our lives, our souls have been attacked by discouragement, by fear, by disappointment, by death, by abandonment, rejection. I mean, you name it if I’ve missed it. I’m sure you could. At some point, we have all faced the growing and gnawing temptation that heartbreak brings. Not just romantic love heartbreak (though, y’all, that counts). I’m talking about heartbreak. The kind that leaves you questioning what life is, who God is and could it possibly, ever, get better. You know what I’m talking about. And my friend, if you don’t… I hate to break it to you, but you will. We have all faced an element of heartbreak, or, you know… heart shatter, whatever. And what I know is that the first one usually won’t break us. But the 10th one might.
And then we become cynical. Then our hearts become hard, or afraid, or numb. Or we run away, or we want to run away. And that my friends, is when we join the ranks of the cowardly. You almost prefer numbness and cynicism because you’re tired of disappointment or rejection or abandonment or death or whatever. So, we run and hide. We do exactly what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden when Abba came out to meet them (Gen 3:9). They ran, they hid and they made every effort to hide themselves in the middle of their mess and heartbreak.
Friends, we are redeemed from the curse. The call to courage is to remain and to remain pliable and to remain unblemished by the world’s hardness (James 1:17). We are called to remain and to remain tender. And in this world, filled with death and tragedy, heartbreak and brokenness, our ever present temptation is to allow our hearts to grow cold, hard and bitter. But friends, our Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and we have an open invitation to a life lived tender, to remain soft in the face of great and constant heartbreak. When our hearts are weak with disappointment, the call to courage looks like putting our hearts and hopes on the line again.
So, let’s remain tender. Let’s fight for our hearts to remain tender in the midst of some tough seasons and some rough testing. Let’s answer the call to courage.
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
– Ezekiel 36:26