Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD Psalm 31:24
A few years ago, as we were completing our time on vacation, I noted to my wife that she had displayed real courage in following through with her long-time desire to snorkel in the Pacific Ocean. This was the perfect, and perhaps last opportunity that she would have to don a snorkel and view the fish and turtles that abound near some islands off Maui’s coast. She had real anxiety about this, but her desire to accomplish this feat overcame her fears.
However, she had to make a conscious decision about this. She had fears, but she decided to overcome them for a greater outcome. Some may believe that courage is the absence of fear. I would say that it is almost the very contrary to that. Courage is recognizing fears, facing them realistically, and deciding to act to overcome them. The real power in courage is the decision to acknowledge the fear, but to act in spite of it.
Often we fail to note the everyday acts of courage that we all perform. Typically, these are acts of emotional courage, where we overcome the fear of social scorn or rejection that may accompany a statement to another person. That risk of saying the kind word, the potential humiliation of saying “forgive me”, or reaching out to ask someone if they are really doing well below the surface smiles. These little acts of courage are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment of having overcome a small fear.
Yes, there are larger acts of physical courage where we may put our body in harm’s way, to some degree, for the greater good of helping another. I think of that especially today, May 8, 2020, the 75th anniversary of VE Day. We are, and should be, forever grateful for the sacrifices made by so many to help defeat the evil of Nazism. That generation displayed both physical and emotional courage.
Regardless of the type of courage shown, it gives us a great deal of growth to exercise it- that is- to make a decision to overcome fear. For, like a muscle, the more we exercise it, the stronger it gets in our life.
Prayer: Thank you Father for your promises of help in times of need, and for the acts of courage we see all around us, Amen.