Virginia’s Meditations on Bravery

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).

A light hail storm began as our family drove through the mountains of Colorado. Our eldest daughter, Rick and I put our hands out the window trying to catch some of the small pieces of ice.  Our young son put his hand out as well but quickly withdrew it when the ice crystals stung his hand. “I’m not as brave as you are, it hurts me!” he lamented. Of course, enduring the sting of catching some hail is not really a very brave act, but we took this opportunity to explain to him what bravery truly means.

Being brave does not mean that the act does not hurt. The mother who rescues her son from a fire is willing to sacrifice her own life to save his, regardless of her fear. The man who goes to war is willing to endure loneliness, discomfort, fear and risk of life and limb to protect his family and serve his country. Jesus Christ was willing to endure the horror of the cross so that He could provide us a way of salvation.

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls (Hebrews 12:2-3).

Being brave, or courageous, simply requires that one is willing to withstand the pain, or fear, in order to accomplish a higher goal; no matter what the cost. That is what Joshua and Caleb did in Numbers 14:6-8. They possessed a courageous trust in God and encouraged the children of Israel to go into the land that God had promised was to be their possession.

But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey’” (Numbers 14:6-8).

However, as Joshua and Caleb discovered, few will set aside their fear so that they can obtain the higher goal of following God’s Word.

Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.” And all the congregation said to stone them with stones (Numbers 14:9-10a).

This rejection of God’s Word is still true today whenever anyone teaches on the topic of submission in a church or women’s Bible class. Some women may feel convicted of the truth of submission, but they also fear that following their husband’s leadership will result in negative consequences for them. Therefore, it is not unusual when only some will trust that His plan for them is far superior to any they could devise.

“Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you for your wisdom in giving me a special role in life. I desire to be like Caleb and Joshua. I will trust you to guide me today as I interact with my husband, children, and others. May my life bring honor and glory to You. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.”