2015 Is Going to Scare You

2015 is going to contain things that will frighten you.

I am not a fortune cookie. Life is simply uncertain, and 2015 will be no exception. You may be an adventure-seeker, or you may like to play it safe—either way, this upcoming year is sure to contain situations seemingly custom-designed to propel you neck high into anxiety.

Clinging to the presence of God is the beginning of what it means to “be strong and courageous.”

“Trust God.” That’s what we say to each other in response to these situations. “Just trust God.” And then we act as if that’s the last word on the subject.

Simple advice to “trust God” is helpful—but incomplete. The question is: What does trust look like when you wake up in the morning with a sense of dread about the future?

What Courage Has to Do with It

For some reason, “courage” and “bravery” have slipped out of common usage. Many of us don’t connect with these terms at all, let alone use them on a frequent basis. Courage is a word for the guys. Bravery is a word for firefighters and people in the army. Both have little to do with you and I in our everyday lives.

This troubles me.

Words are powerful—and I’m concerned. I think we have re-defined “trust” as a passive reflection on the sovereignty of God. “Trusting God” has become shorthand for “chilling out.” We’re missing the action of it—trust’s twin, courage.

The definition of courage reads like this:

Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

May I suggest that we begin to re-incorporate this critical, beautiful word back into our vocabularies?

Be Strong and Very Courageous!

Joshua is my favorite case study.

Nervous does not come close to describing what he must have felt. “Pressure” does not begin to encapsulate what he’d just walked into. An entire nation was now looking to him—him!—for leadership.

I love this passage in the beginning of the book of Joshua. God has a message for him in the midst of his fear:

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7–9).

These were God’s specific words to Joshua, in a specific time and place—but they apply to us too. We’ve even received a similar promise, from the lips of Christ Himself in Matthew 28:20, following his command to go out into all the world with His teaching: “And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Notice how the command “be strong and courageous” is linked with the promise “the Lord your God will be with you” by the little word for. Do not be afraid and discouraged—why? Because God goes with you.

Clinging to the presence of God is the beginning of what it means to “be strong and courageous.”

Joshua started there. You and I must start there. Then action follows. He advances into battle. He moves.

One of my favorite authors, G.K. Chesterton, spoke about the action of courage like this:

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.

It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if we will risk it on the precipice.

He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying . . . He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it.

God’s call to courage in the face of fear is not simply a call to passive reflection. It is a call to daring, forward-moving faith. It is a call to “risk it on the precipice.”

When you wake up with dread in the morning, you remind yourself of Jesus’ promise that He is with you. You assess what needs to be done. You ask Him for his help to do it. You believe He is with you, enabling you. And then you go to battle.

2015 will often scare me—I’m sure of that. But I am also sure of Christ’s promise—and with His presence, He can enable me to “venture, persevere, and withstand.” In short, to face it bravely.

About Author

Lindsey Lee's greatest passion is to see the glory of Christ, cherish Him unreservedly, and assist others in doing the same. She makes her home in Toronto.

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