I’ve been thinking about courage lately. Partly because of Memorial Day, and partly because we talked about it at church this last weekend. Courage is such a remarkable thing! It’s so other worldly. When you think about the times you have witnessed it, or people in your life that practice it regularly, doesn’t it stand out as something so exemplary? It is not in our everyday nature to be courageous.
In fact, we don’t always get the chance to practice courage. It is a very special opportunity when we are asked to be courageous. I don’t often recognize the special-ness. I usually just recognize the fear I feel. But, if we think about it, these opportunities for courage are a chance to test the lessons we’ve learned (or not learned), because it is in these times that we are asked to stand strongly in our convictions.
My son got his first perfect spelling test, last week! How we celebrated! Spelling is one of our most difficult subjects. Every week, I tell him that his hard work will pay off, and every week, he looks at me with unbelieving eyes. Even though he reads through his words everyday, and practices them on his worksheets, something happens between practice time and test time, that causes them to be forgotten. I feel like the same thing happens with the lessons I try to learn. I spend a lot of my time trying to learn from people who are wise. I read, and read, and listen to words, and ideas, that I want to mold my character, and everyday behavior. No matter how much time I spend doing these things, I forget. Then, I get frustrated with myself and look up to the heavens with my unbelieving eyes, asking God, “When will I ever learn?” But, then an opportunity for courage comes along. And guess what happens? First, of course, there is fear. Then after some inward searching, usually by the One that knows me better than I know myself, I find a very small nugget of something, that is a little wobbly, a little hopeful, and a little exhilarating. I pull this little nugget out, and allow it to color my behavior, perspective, and the words that come out of my mouth. And, in total surprise to myself, and probably anyone else around to witness it, it looks like courage! And, I thank My Father and ask Him where it came from. And, like I did with my son, He points out the times we labored, and the times I came to Him asking for help. And we celebrate. Oh, how we celebrate!