“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”(Corinthians 16:13, NIV)
“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NRSV)
I grew up hearing about the faith and courage of my great-grandfather who stood up for God when the communist regime told him to shut up. He ended up in prison for that. My grandparents were pioneers of the Christian faith in their area, and they faced times of great persecution with prayers and singing. My parents fought for what is right and what is true and honored God when it could cost them everything, here in Romania. It is a beautiful legacy, but to me it seemed like a great pressure, because I did not feel brave. Would I be able to stand for my God, no matter the cost? When I was almost nine years old freedom came to our country and my whole world changed. I learned that courage and strength looked different in this new society.
I also learned that courage (or being courageous) is not something that you feel, it is something that you do. Courage is obedience – to go across the room and say hello to someone lonely, to make that phone call and reconnect, to ask for forgiveness or forgive even when they don’t deserve it, to choose to listen even when you’ve not been listened to, to give generously and selflessly, to start working out or eating healthy, to live out of our identity of beloved, to point to Jesus throughout each day – because He is with us, wherever we go. We cannot produce courage, but we can act courageously, because we know we are not alone.
So, when we are commanded to be courageous, we are not commanded to feel courageous, but to believe Immanuel – that God is with us. Then, we can be courageous and live a life of obedience as an overflow of delight in His beautiful, glorious presence.
Prayer of Response:
“Lord, You are with me. You are beautiful and captivating. You are worthy of my adoration. Your presence gives me life and empowers me to live a life of obedience, full of courage. Help me believe these truths today. Amen.”
—Submitted by Diana Anton
Diana and her husband, Bogdan, serve as missionaries in Bucharest, Romania with Josiah Venture. She writes and speaks to inspire joy and point to Jesus, her first love. You can join her journey of life in the big city, while being a farm girl at heart, on her new blog www.lifeonfarmroad.com
ROL = Rhythm of Life. Our reflections for 2020 are themed around framing and forming a personal Rhythm (Rule) of Life as a Lifesprings community.