What Biblical or modern day character do you consider courageous? Why? What can you learn from them?
I have been affected and inspired by the stories of Noah, who obeyed God when he built the ark (Genesis 6:9-22) in spite of severe criticism. By David, who faced and fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17). By Paul, when he took on the intellectuals in Athens (Acts 17:16-34). They were willing to face danger, wrestle with their own insecurities, and take risks in order to obey and honor God.
I remember being saddened by the tragic death of Pittsburgh Pirate All Star right-fielder Roberto Clemente on December 31, 1972. I was playing hockey that day and heard the news when I got home. He died in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was 38 years old. I was 14. I was struck that he died trying to help other people less fortunate than he was. Reports mentioned Clemente decided to personally accompany this flight after having been advised that their prior shipments may not have reached the intended recipients due to governmental interference with the relief efforts. Besides being affected by the deaths of my grandparents, it was the first time I recall crying over someone I did not know. I was inspired to live a life that affected others in a meaningful way.
I have read biographies of William Borden, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Corrie ten Boom, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, all of which put real-life events of history into perspective for me. They all faced tremendous pressure and adversity, yet showed courage in their response. I still carry one quote from Bonhoeffer with me to this day: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
I think about the men and women who responded to the terrorist threat to Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. They learned through their cell phones that the plane they were on was now being used as a weapon. Options were limited and time was running out. It could have been easy to assume a mistake had been made and the hijackers would not carry out their evil plans. Or try to pray and hope the situation would go away. Or do nothing.
If they had, America might have lost its U.S. Capitol building, along with many lives. The White House (or other landmarks and people) may have been destroyed. Remarkably, a few men on Flight 93 responded courageously and many were spared more horrible consequences. Men of godly faith taught us again about the necessity of true faith – trusting God and taking action when action is needed.
Read Acts 6:8-15 and 7:51-60.
Stephen, one of the early Christians in the first century, faced a challenge of great proportions. His courage amid great resistance to the teachings of Jesus serves as a model worth emulating. He teaches us that when situations are frightening, beyond our ability to imagine, we can stand up for our faith. When it is time to act, we can act with God’s help, and He will be with us.
Think theologically. When we know we are doing what is right, that it will honor the Lord, and help others, we must take action with courage. Men and women for centuries have showed us how to do it. Be courageous. Lean on God and trust His presence and resources to aid you.
Love is a verb,
©2018 by Mike Olejarz