I think joy is found in courageously being who we were created to be. We can have that kind of joy simultaneously with sorrow.
I struggle with courage a lot. Sometimes I spend too much time hiding from responsibilities I don’t want to face. Sometimes I disengage emotionally from life because it feels like too much to handle. Sometimes I just give in to despair (about nothing in particular, just general despair).
When most Christians in my church talk about courage, I get more discouraged. But when Ric, the leader of a Bible study I attend, talks about courage, I get encouraged. Why is that? I think it’s because Ric links courage with faith in God’s promises. Everyone else links courage with personal determination.
And Ric is right. It isn’t about personal determination. That’s stubbornness! Websters says, “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain” – for the believer, that is done by faith not by stirring up flesh. Thanks, Ric!
good post…..really like the linking of courage with faith in God’s promises, rather than any ‘effort’ on our part, (apart from God, that is). i think we all struggle with ‘despairing’ to one degree or another, from time to time, but as we re-focus on God and Who He is and His promises to us, we are able to respond with that “joy unspeakable and full of glory”, no matter what we are facing. Miss you all!
Kate and Cathy: thanks for responding.
I agree that we need to trust God rather than our own efforts, and yet part of courage must be a total engagement in the battle. So effort on our part is essential.
How do you put these ideas together without contradiction?
It all reminds me of Genesis 32:22-31. Jacob came to *the* turning point of his life, and finally learned to trust God more than anything. God renamed him Israel, which means “he strives”, because, he said, “You have striven with God and men and have prevailed”. I can imagine him saying, “Jacob, you were created to wrestle for my blessing, and whenever you face up to that call you’ll find joy.” And yet, it was *God’s blessing* Jacob wrestled for, not the consequences of his own hard work.