Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
When we think of courage we usually think of Bible men who fearlessly stood against great odds: David before Goliath, Moses before Pharaoh, Elijah before the prophets of Baal, Paul before his attackers, Stephen before the religious rulers. We think of the Alamo and Masada and Iuo Jima. But when courage is shown by a young girl it seems to be all the more outstanding for we know it isn’t based on physical strength but on personal commitment. The servant girl of Naaman who told him about Elisha comes to mind. So does Ruth who followed Naomi to a strange land. But one who is sometimes overlooked is Esther.
After reading her story, who can forget her courageous words when challenged with taking a chance to intercede for her people or be killed for going to the king uninvited: “If I die, I die.” She had faced one obstacle after another in life. She was an orphan, then she was married to a Gentile who kept her in the harem. The chance at a normal family life with a Jewish husband and children was denied her. She was part of a people who had turned from God, and marriage to a Gentile was forbidden to Jewish girls. Still she found herself risking her life by approaching the king and risking it again by revealing her Jewishness for all Jews would soon be killed. What did she have to lose? Nothing – and everything. “If I die, I die.” “What’s the worst than can happen to me? I can be killed! That’s a risk I’m willing to take.”
Most of us will never face that kind of a situation, not the life-or-death kind anyway. But in another way we face tests to our courage every day. How will we respond when criticized for our faith, when challenged about our beliefs, when faced with taking the easy way out, when knowing we should turn the other cheek and get hurt again, or when taking a stand against obscene talk or actions? Is courage any less important for us today than in Esther’s time? Are our lives so precious we would do anything to protect them? Maybe not, but sometimes are egos are. Sometimes our pride is more important than having the courage to admit we are wrong or to apologize for something we said or did (or didn’t say or do but should have). Holding back a verbal bark, no matter how true it might be, when hurt by another – that can be a real act of courage. So can stepping out in faith and trusting God’s provision in an area of need.
Philippians 1:20, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”
2 Chronicles 19:11, “Act with courage, and may the Lord be with those who do well.”
Acts 4:13, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong…”
- Make a mental list of all the ways you will need courage today, of the situations you may face or the obstacles and challenges you may meet. Pray and ask God to give you courage to face them.
- Who comes to mind when you think of someone you know who has godly courage? Where do you think it comes from? Pray for them today. Talk to them soon and complement them on being a good example of courage. You can even ask for insights that might help you.
- If you feel particularly courageous, ask God to give you opportunities today to show courage for Him. Remember, though, most of our really courageous acts are behind the seen and unnoticed by others.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on August 9, 2009