When we think of courage, we tend to think about people throwing themselves on top of an exploding hand grenade or battling a terrible illness or taking great risks to aid disaster victims. But courage comes in all shapes and sizes.
Sometimes it takes a surprising degree of courage just to get out of bed in the morning.
And while we may not be called to fight off wild dingos in order to save a newborn or jump onto a moving train in order to rescue the President, many of the things we ARE called to may require almost as much courage.
In fact, sometimes it requires enormous amounts of courage just to continue doing what you've been doing.
We've been talking on Sundays about the value of waiting. We've been discussing how waiting on God is all about trust, but how sometimes it's really hard, because we don't see results.
But here's the thing:
Sometimes the value is not in the receiving but in the trusting. Sometimes it's not about input/output or give/receive or cost/benefit. Sometimes it's all about persevering.
This is why Paul tells us that "suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Romans 5:4-5) These things are listed in succession on purpose. Sometimes we must suffer to build strength and integrity, and only then can we experience hope.
But notice that nowhere in that list do we find "quitting" as an option. It doesn't say, "suffering produces misery; misery, complaining; complaining, quitting." Whatever mission we're called to, there is intrinsic value in seeing it through to completion.
And this progression is absolutely critical if we expect to stay on mission. Perseverance is pleasing to God. He loves it when we respond to his call and hang on for dear life. This is why Jesus tells us that the one who takes risks and stays on mission will be considered faithful and will ultimately reap the rewards of their perseverance, which includes high praise and increased responsibility.
"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!" (Matthew 25:21&23).
If we play it safe, if we avoid risk, or worse yet, if we quit, the rest of that parable doesn't favor us.
We know the passage that says, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" but shouldn't that lead to the logical conclusion that, if we know we're on mission, if we know God has called us to something, what could be better than that? Even if we aren't seeing the outcomes that we'd like or expect, why would we want to be anywhere else?
Most of the time, being bold and courageous is just about hanging on. It's about waiting well. It's about trusting God.
Be bold and courageous.