Courage: persevering with confidence in spite of difficulty, danger, pain or fear
The Cowardly Lion wanted it desperately. We saw him clutch his tail and wipe his runny nose, sobbing, often running and hiding during outbursts of weakness. Expressing his fear meant that he was getting closer to unearthing the strength he believed he lacked but was hidden below the surface.
I think all of us have courage in the areas we lack, but sometimes, we don’t see it take root until we’ve traveled a long journey fraught with obstacles…only to discover that courage was there all along. Often, it’s the journey that gives us the opportunity and ability to put courage into play; otherwise known as God’s refinement process. If all our characteristics are ingredients contributing to who we are, and He is above us mixing them all together, He might be saying, “Hhmm, given what I am planning for your life and for eternity, and given I know all that will take place in your life and the plans I have for you, I think you might need more patience, or sensitivity or courage.” We can trust He knows how much to allow in our lives and what exactly is needed, for His purposes and plans are intentional and good. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
For our children, courage may look like a lot of different types of things. It might mean starting a new school and having to make new friends, getting up in front of the class to give an oral report, standing up to someone to defend another, speaking out against a wrong action to declare the truth, not following what the crowd is doing…there are countless examples of circumstances where our kids have to face their weakness and sometimes go through a refinement process in order to become stronger. And through that, we have to encourage our children to listen to the word of God, not the word of the world.
Praying for courage and endurance is a prayer worth praying. The practice runs may be painful, but will equip our kids with what they need for life. And with God as our personal refiner, we can trust that He knows how much we need in order to achieve that oh-so important attribute.
“Dear God, build up _______ to become a person who is strong and courageous because he/she trusts in you. As he/she faces people or circumstances that will test his/her convictions, help him/her not to be paralyzed by them but to always remember that you are with her/him.” (From: While they Were Sleeping, by Anne Arkins and Gary Harrell)
“For my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2Cor 12:9)
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness.” (Romans 8:26)
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2Corinthinas 12:10)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)