As I continue to mull over the concept of courage this week, two aspects of courage stand out. The first is, courage involves doing. The Merriam-Webster defines courage as the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. The doing can be an internal act such as resolving to no longer be silent in the face of injustice; however, at some point, what was first an internal act will become external action. Courage, to be courage, has to be demonstrated.
The second is, courage seems possible only when there is risk to our well-being in some way. For example, the risk of being harmed physically when you take a stand, of being rejected or judged, or of losing a relationship because you initiate a healthy change. I believe courage is unnecessary in the absence of risk.
When facing risks, the probability that we will experience fear, anxiety, or a similar emotion, is high. As Ambrose Redmoon noted,
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”
The Bible tells the story of a man who was facing a season that involved tremendous risk, from a human standpoint. All the same, God commanded him to be strong and courageous. This man was Joshua. Thankfully, God did not just command Joshua to be strong and courageous; He told Joshua the reason he could be strong and courageous:
“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, HCSB)
The assurance He provided Joshua, is also ours – He is with us wherever we go and, like, Joshua, this is all we need to be courageous.