There are times in all our lives that fear grips our hearts, and with heart pounding, we just do not think we have what it takes to accomplish a task, conquer a fear or complete a goal. Many times throughout my life I have been there. I know what it is to be sick about and almost paralyzed with the unknown or a daunting task. It is during these times that we learn what it is to take heart and muster up the courage to go on.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the determination to do whatever needs done even while we are afraid. Many during these uncertain times with storms, earthquakes, and tornadoes have allowed fear to creep in and give them the knee shakin' kind of fear that tends to spin out of control and lead to discouragement. Though there are many things in this life that are realistic to fear, many times, we must take heart my friend. We are in this together and there is a courage that comes during times of adversity like no other time. Show me a time in history where times were lean and there were wars and trouble, and I will show you a people who turn to their God and the greatest victories followed these times of hardship and seeming defeat.
I well remember many years ago I was traveling to speak in a Ladies' Conference. I had to fly to D.C., and then connect and fly on to the East Coast. This was by far the largest conference I had ever spoken in, and I was terrified. All the way from Charleston to D.C., I kept thinking, "what on earth were they thinking when they asked me to speak?" The other keynote speaker was a "big name" speaker, and I was feeling very "green" and back woodsy. The thoughts tormented me and I began feeling sick to my stomach. "Who am I that they would ask me?" taunted me. When, all of the sudden, on the descent to D.C., I sat up straight and said, "Lord, I know you've already prepared me for this task. I am not asking you to help me. I am asking you to do this through me. When the ladies see me, don't let them see me, but let them see Jesus. When they hear me, don't let them hear me, let them hear Jesus." All of the sudden, Courage came. The key for me was not in struggling, but rather in the surrender. I approached the ticket desk and was waiting in line when I felt someone pat the Bible in my arm. "I love this book" she proclaimed from her wheelchair. Her elderly eyes sparkled and her smile lit up the terminal for me that day. We chatted a bit and as I took my seat, there she was again. She questioned me about my travels and purpose for my trip. Then she was gone. I got up to walk around and there she was again! Her wheelchair wheels must have been smokin'....mind you this was Washington/Dulles Airport! She motioned me over a few feet to where she was sitting. She took my hand in her two hands and said, "God bless you young lady. When you speak, may the ladies not hear you, but may they hear Jesus, and when they see you may they not see you, but may they see Jesus." Tears rolled down my cheeks and it was if everyone had turned and was quietly facing this dear lady. It was a hallowed moment. There was power in her words and the confirmation that yes, this was His plan and certainly He would give me the courage, and then He would do the work through me. I quietly walked away from what seemed to be a sacred place. I turned to take one more look at my little encourager and I watched as my dear sweet lady got up from her wheelchair and walked away into the enormous crowd. I never saw her again. Courage. I needed it. I got it. Over 2000 women attended that conference and I still savor the memories of that precious and amazing encounter as well as tremendous and encouraging meeting.
We must understand this one thing, "if God be for us, who can be against us"? Sometimes it is an obvious once in a lifetime event such as the above story, and sometimes it is the daily squaring of one's shoulders and going ahead with what has to be done knowing that courage is doing something even when we are afraid.
The story of David and Goliath is one we've all heard often. The ruddy little boy goes in and takes out the giant that every big man in the army is afraid to fight. He wasn't suppose to fight. He was bringing lunch to his brothers. But Goliath insulted his God, and who was he to do such a thing?! David told his brother that God would fight this battle. They really did not believe him and thought he'd be killed. But instead, he took some smooth stones, and with the giant mocking him, he went round and round with the sling, and bingo.....the giant went down. David then took the sword from the giant and cut off his head. Not a pretty picture, I know. But this represents the battles that you and I must face sometimes. We feel small, weak, and insignificant. We look around (the first mistake) and everyone else seems to have it all together, but we feel afraid. But we must be like David, know that it is God who fights our battles and wins our wars.
Several years ago, a friend was going through a horrific trial. Truly I felt helpless, but I was offering support, and I ached for her. She made a statement about me that made me laugh on the inside. She said, "You've got the world by the tail and your life is so together." Ha What she didn't know was that I was going through the most difficult time of my entire life, but just kept it hidden. The point is, we all have something in common and that is that none of us have the world by the tail and we all have faults, failures, insecurities, and fears. It is courage that will pick us up by the nap of the neck, so to speak, and bid us go on and do what we must. Interestingly enough, when I got up to speak to those two thousand women in that conference, my heart pounded a bit with excitement, but the fear had melted away. Courage had won another battle. And so it will with you my friend. Trials, heartaches, storms, grief, loss, or sickness, we will be empowered with the courage to put one foot in front of another and accomplish our purpose for being placed on this earth.
"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest." Joshua 1:9
(Kimberly Short-Wolfe, MA is a homeschool mom and a counselor and Licensed Chaplain for Cornerstone Christian Counseling. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 304-940-9362.)