In light of my post yesterday on vaccine mandates, some comments caused me to reflect. Comments showing support and prayers for courage and peace, for which I’m so grateful! But also applauding our courage, and those made me pause.
I don’t feel courageous, and seriously doubt I have what it takes to be heroic. Great courage and heroism belong to mighty biblical figures like Daniel, Esther, Stephen, and the apostles. Or courageous modern-day worthies such as George Washington, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, William Wilberforce, Gandi, and countless others.
They refused to back down in the face of lions, stoning, imprisonment, or certain death. I have always seen them as possessing great courage, and no doubt they did.
Courage – or strength?
But I wonder if it wasn’t really strength, more than courage. For courage must come from an inner strength. Curious over the difference, I learned that:
COURAGE is the same as bravery.
It’s being able to deal with or face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear.
STRENGTH, in our context, is
Moral power, firmness, courage. It’s being able to maintain a moral or intellectual position, even while dealing with difficult situations.
- Daniel COULD face the lions because he COULD NOT worship other gods.
- Wilberforce COULD battle impossible odds because he COULD NOT accept slavery.
- And Patrick Henry WAS ENABLED to face possible death because he WAS CERTAIN some things are worth fighting and even dying for.
When we lack courage
Many heroes and heroines of the past lacked courage, but they proceeded anyway. Just as Queen Esther feared appearing before the king, many of historic champions were afraid. But they didn’t allow fear to block them.
If courage means facing difficulties without fear – then I am not courageous. Probably few of us are. Even in our present circumstance we face fear. What further consequences could arise from our decision. If the present worldwide agenda advances, could we face imprisonment? Will even grocery stores become forbidden places for us? Would they deny us medical care?
In view of world happenings such fears are not unfounded. But can we allow them to paralyse us?
We often face fear in life. But one thing I’ve learned is to go forward in spite of it, knowing that God is our strength. Deep inside we may be fraidy cats. But he can grant us courageous strength to face any battle.
I would like to clarify that I don’t think everyone should take our stance, or fight the battles we choose. Thankfully God allows us to follow our own conscience and choose which battles are for us.
Just as he guides me in these choices, I trust he will guide you too. And if you received the injections, I’m glad you could choose what you felt was best for you and your family.
But for me and my house, we feel Italy’s vaccine mandate is a battle we must fight right now. Because there is still some good in this world, like freedom and rights, and it’s worth fighting for.
In the Lord of the Rings, when Frodo became discouraged over the seeming impossiblity of their mission, Sam encouraged him to remember what they were fighting for. And that gave him strength to carry on.
- FRODO: I can’t do this, Sam.
- SAM: I know. By all rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
- FRODO: What are we holding on to, Sam?
- SAM: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.Sam, The Return of the King (JRR Tolkien)
All who have seen perilous times felt fear. They all wished for its passing. They wished it had never come to them. But the ones who lived the stories worth telling were those who held on to something. They knew that good is worth fighting for.
We too can hold on when certain that we’re fighting for something good. And knowing that our strength comes from the One who is greater than ourselves and our fears – and mightier than the evil which threatens to engulf us.
It is his strength that transforms us from fraidy cats into valiant lions. Knowing that the darkness will pass. And that a new day will come, with the sun shining out the clearer.