We all remember the lion from the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy met him on the Yellow Brick Road. He was afraid of everything, including his own shadow. Imagine a lion, the king of the jungle being afraid of something. Instead of a roar, he has a meow. Many of us are like this lion. We live like scared cats rather than roaring lions, as God has called us to be. We lack courage.
We cannot walk courageously without the help of the Holy Spirit, and God’s grace. Psalms 31:24 gives us this word of encouragement: “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” God knows that we struggle with courage. We live in fear of all kinds of situations. Some of us have health challenges, and we are afraid.
Some of us have witnessed the loss of friends and family, who were our age or much younger than we are—and we live in fear of dying. Others are in really bad relationships, and live in fear of leaving these situations. Then there are those who are full of potential, gifted beyond measure, and have the world at their fingertips. Everything good is happening to them, and they fear being successful and blessed. So they throw away their gifts and do things to sabotage all the good things that have happened to them, including relationships, jobs and other opportunities. Be of good courage.
In times when we are faced with negative situations, goblins and boogiemen aren’t to blame. But there will be stuff requiring us to have courage. Rather than running away like yellow-bellied cowards, we must be of good encourage. God will provide us with the strength to stand up boldly against the forces that try to chase us away from what God has in store for us and enable us to meet our fears and overcome them with faith.
In the book The Red Badge of Courage, the main character, Henry, did not want to fight in the war. He would run away from opportunities to fight in the battles. What he ultimately learned from his friends who were brave enough to fight was that having courage means that one is not afraid of death. When a person shows courage they may get hurt.
They may not have a Purple Heart, but a red badge of courage. The Red Badge of Courage is something that we all need to earn. When we are brave enough to fight the good fight of faith, we will experience some cuts, bruising, and other types of injuries. But as long as we have hope in the Lord, we will have the strength to heal and have enough courage to continue to fight. If we do not have a red badge of courage, we need to reflect on the psalmist words—be of good courage.
That red badge of courage is a sign that we trusted in God, stepped out on faith, and were willing to take a risk—proof that we were willing to forget about self and step out and do something that would reap greater benefits than living in fear. That Red Badge of Courage may be a divorce decree, forgiving someone who was hurtful, turning the other cheek, having compassion for people who do not deserve it, physical scars from surgical procedures, or last place in a race. Anyone who has courage will end up with a Red Badge of Courage.
Be of good courage.