Bravery is not a word we hear often in conversation. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as showing mental or moral strength in facing danger, fear or difficulty. According to Webster, synonyms include: courage, gallantry, having guts, heart, grit, backbone or intestinal fortitude, and heroism. Brave people persevere; they are bold, They are not cowardly, indecisive or have cold feet. Imagine Superman leaping over tall buildings in a single bounce.
That’s not me. You may not think it’s you either, but let’s look at it from a different angle.
Supposed you saw your child run out into a busy street; would you run after him, if he didn’t answer your call to return to the safety of the sidewalk? What if you worked at a job you weren’t totally fulfilled in doing, but kept at it because you couldn’t find another and you wanted to support your family? Would that perseverance fit Webster’s definition of bravery? What if your elderly parent needed your help because they couldn’t find help elsewhere; would you brave a snowstorm or howling winds to get to their side?
There is bravery within us. I believe it was put there by God. In the Bible we have the story of Stephen, who, as an early Christian, was threatened with death for his beliefs in Jesus as the Messiah. Stephen knew, when he was taken before the Sanhedrin, what the consequences were for his faith, yet he not only failed to deny it, he spoke up so profoundly that, if anyone’s ears and hearts were truly open, they would have seen God in it. Stephen knew the consequences yet spoke boldly. During his last moments, he said that he saw God.
Although we don’t want to have to need to be that brave, if facing death, we would probably want to be that brave. We may fail at times now, but we persevere. Most want to honor God and show faith in His promises, in His never-ending love, in His compassion, and see Him as Father, Redeemer, and Best Friend. But can we be as strong as Stephen?
We are not on this path alone. God promises: “The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble; and those who know Your Name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:9-10). “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior …” (Isaiah 43:2, 3a). “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My Name.” (Psalm 91:14).
God always gives us what we need – even courage! “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6). “You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:7)
He then promises us a reward for our perseverance: “The LORD will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18).
How can we fail!