Have you done something extreme in your life, like bungee jumping? Or do you maybe like to play it safe on the sideline, witnessing your loved ones get up to these extreme activities? Have you ever wondered how people get the COURAGE to take a leap of faith and partake in these pastimes?
In Joshua 1:9, Joshua was instructed by the Lord to be “strong and courageous”, and to “not fear” or be “discouraged”, because God was with him.
Did Joshua listen to the Lord and do what God wanted him to do? YES, he did, and he did it well!
So then, similarly to the question above, how do people get the courage to partake in extreme activities, how did Joshua get the courage to take on the Promised Land and all the battles that came with the package?
The keyword to courage, for me, lies in this small but powerful word. Trust.
Even if Joshua was instructed to “not fear”, do you truly think, in any of these situations, you would not experience fear at all? Fear would most probably be present, but if you TRUSTED the person, product or – like Joshua, God – the fear wouldn't be overpowering and stop you from DOING. It would be more of an adrenaline rush type of fear – you don’t know what’s going to happen and it can go terribly wrong – but the excitement of what’s coming, with the certainty (the faith) in the product or person you trust, is absolutely worth the leap!
We have determined now that, to have courage, we need trust. The next compelling question is, how do we trust? The simple and difficult answer is, by FAITH. If we think of bungee jumping again – to jump, you need courage. You gain courage from trusting that the equipment will keep you safe, trusting the staff helped you gear up well and trusting that the bridge is steady. Why do you trust? Because you believe. You have seen evidence of other people jumping and always returning safely, so you believe that you will also jump and be safe.
But the Bible says we have faith in things “not seen”.
This is where the courage-trust-faith conundrum comes in, when it comes to Jesus.
As Christians, we need to have faith in a God we have never seen or audibly heard before. Then we need to trust this God. We need to trust that He is alive, has our best interests at heart and is there to take care of us and our families. The next, unthinkable step then requires us to have courage and take on “impossible” tasks or opportunities, because we believe God wants us to. Quite a conundrum. No wonder it is so difficult for non-believers to start believing.
HOW DO WE TAKE ON THIS CONUNDRUM?
1. START WITH FAITH – Hebrews 11:1-6 (NKJV) says that, “...faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Just because we can’t see tangible proof, it does not mean there is no evidence. If believing is difficult for you, read up on the history of Jesus on Earth. There are more statistics and evidence available confirming the life of Jesus on Earth than you would ever need to make a case in court. But regardless of the physical, historical evidence that we serve a true, living God, if you start paying close attention to everyday life, you will start to notice the evidence of a higher hand in YOUR life. If I just look at finances in my life – while growing up, after entering into a marriage and during fertility treatments – it just doesn’t make sense how we always had enough to eat, paid the bills, bought the essentials and could still give to others in need. If you were in a situation and you just don’t know how you got through it (the word “impossible” comes to mind) you can be quite sure that your Heavenly Father played a role.
2. LEARN TO TRUST – when you start recognising the hand of God in your everyday life and noticing the truth of Romans 8:28 (NIV): “...we know in all things God works for the good of those who love Him...” (which does not mean that everything will work out according to YOUR plans, rather, according to God’s plans for your life) then you will start trusting that God has your back. You will begin to trust that He truly is looking out for you, even if you don’t always see it.
3. NOW, BE COURAGEOUS – when you get to the point where you believe what God says in His Word and you have started trusting Him, it will now be possible – not always easy or without fear, but possible – to have courage and take a leap: to tithe at the beginning of the month because you trust God will provide: to apply for the new position, because you trust that God will open and close doors He knows will be good for you; to take the microphone on a Sunday and share what God has laid on your heart for the church, because you trust that God wants to bring life through the Word you took the courage to share. It is now possible to take on every day with courage, knowing whatever ups and downs you will face, like Joshua, God is in your battle WITH you and He will provide according to your needs.
So, woman of God, “be strong and courageous”!
Love and warm greetings
Women of Reverence welcomes Janine Norje as a guest contributor for this month.