I heard the song Courageous by Casting Crowns on my way to work this morning. the background singers caught my ear during the chorus. They chanted "seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God" which is from Micah 6:8, and one of my first posts in this blog, A Single Verse to Live By. I didn't know it was called the Micah Mandate at the time.
"We were made to be courageous" is a main line in the song. It got me thinking about all the times in the Bible that God tells us to be courageous. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9.
Fear is a major driver in the lives of people. I should make it personal. I fear failure, so I usually avoid trying to do things that are really hard. I aim squarely for mediocrity, and I succeed. Well, I'm at least mediocre at it.
Some people are afraid to be afraid. Crazy risks, deeds of derring-do, acts of rebellion simply to prove they aren't afraid, but it simply highlights the fact that they fear to be themselves, to acknowledge common sense and rationality. It takes courage to acknowledge reasonable fear.
Many, many people are afraid to be themselves. They hide behind drugs, alcohol, and obsessive/compulsive behaviors. It's hard to look at yourself and agree with the flaws. It takes courage to be transparent.
I've seen acts of courage. My friend Tim died the most courageous man I ever knew, smiling at me the last time I saw in him in the hospital. When Angie died she was courageous, and so were her husband and young daughter, who are still courageous now that Angie is gone. People in the Cancer Center are fantastically courageous. I can't even get my head around that strength.
The people in Rwanda, Africa, members of the churches planted by my dear friend and hero Bishop Pastor Muhoza Lewi, are all courageous. They face trials daily simply to survive, trials that I cannot even fathom. I was inconvenienced that I couldn't find a Big Mac over there. I was totally distraught that I couldn't find pickles.
There is courage everywhere, but I notice that the most courageous realize a couple things.
1. Life has no guarantees. We choose our own attitudes.
3. We are spiritual beings in a physical world. Even Yoda knew this, but it's harder for real people to get a grip on it. " Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."
When I was young, maybe tenth grade, I wrote the following for an assignment: Courage, not measured by the courageous, but by onlookers. True courage, though, seems rare to me.