Today I am sharing an article on courage that I was privileged to write for the October 2019 Moms on a Mission magazine:
I don’t even watch the news anymore. Who needs the anxiety that can follow half hour of recounting calamities, both distant and close to home? Disaster seems to lurk around every corner: terrorism, accidents, natural disasters. It seems that we need an increasing amount of courage to live and function in a world of escalating danger. But where does courage come from?
I have been reading an insightful book The Unthinkable, Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why by Amanda Ripley. It analyzes human psychology in disaster scenarios. I found it very interesting that one is more likely to survive a disaster when they have “three underlying advantages: a belief that they can influence life events; a tendency to find meaningful purpose in life’s turmoil; and a conviction that they can learn from both positive and negative experiences. These beliefs act as a sort of buffer, cushioning the blow of any disaster. Dangers seem more manageable to these people, and they perform better as a result.”1 The author marvels that these type of people are found all over the world, in every race, in men and women, and in every social and economic class.
Beloved, the author is describing a Christian worldview and the body of Christ! The apostle Paul describes it this way, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4: 8 -9 ESV) Both Ms. Ripley and the apostle Paul are describing people of faith who cling to hope that suffering has a purpose and will one day end in glory.
Paul goes on to say, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4: 16 -18)
The people who exhibit courage are those that are looking beyond frightening circumstances, trusting that God sees the bigger picture. In time of need we find our courage by trusting that God has a plan, and that He has pre-ordained our steps. Courage comes from faith. Nothing that happens to us is a surprise to God. Courage is the product of choosing to believe that God is working within the situation for His glory and our good. Courage comes from knowing we are not helpless victims, but rather ministers of the gospel and representatives of Christ even in the most calamitous conditions, empowered with God’s Holy Spirit at all times and in all circumstances. We have courage because we remember that we never face the storm alone.
1 Ripley, Amanda. The Unthinkable, Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2009.
For help on this topic, please see my other articles on fear.
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