Courage.

Courage. What makes a king out of a slave? Courage.

What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage.

What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dust.

What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage.

What makes the sphinx the 7th Wonder? Courage.

What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage. 

What makes the hottentot so hot? what puts the “ape” in apricot?

Whatta they got that I haven’t got?

Others: Courage.

You can say that again.

Recognize it? This is the memorable speech give by the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz movie.

Courage. The most foundational of all the virtues, as C. S. Lewis pointed out in The Screwtape Letters.

Courage comes from the French word for heart, cor. I think that is because courage is a thing of the heart not the mind. Nor even of the soul.

The Bible talks about your soul being downcast, but it says your heart is what is afraid or unafraid.  Your mind may tell you fear is rational, or irrational, your soul may feel afraid and troubled, but if you choose in your heart to be brave, then your mind and your soul will not have their way.

Of course there is false bravery; a. k. a. stupidity. That is when there is a risk taken for no real reason except to take it, for thrills. Where do you think we got the phrase “It’s your funeral,” from? (Ironically, that phrase if often used in movies when the person is taking a worthwhile risk.)

No one can be themselves without courage. As the Lion is pointing out for us. I would also argue that no one can let other people be themselves without courage. I read an article about courage on this phycology website I found. It was pretty good, but the comment section under it made me sad. One man said he was considering the idea that the earth is hell. That it matches Dante’s description of it. It was because the article had pointed out how dangerous the world we live in has become.

And that is true. The world is dangerous. Most of that is our fault. But the world, though broken and sometimes twisted, is still in many ways beautiful. If it seems like hell to a person, that person is not doing enough to make it like heaven.

What we contribute affects our outlook. When you act like a jerk or a weasel or just mediocre, you will see the world through those lenses. When you live to bless other people, you will reap good results. I don’t think this man who commented that remark had courage. Because if he did, he would not see the world that way.

Take from someone who was an expert on every kind of fear. Fear spoils life. It has torment, as the Word says.

I get disappointed too, just like all of you reading this do, I see things almost every day that make me shake my head at the world. (All you have to do is watch the news for ten minutes.) I do not have less reason to fear and despair than the average American. Though I will not pretend I have it anywhere near as bad as many people in other places do.

I don’t think I have it bad at all. I feel bad sometimes (truth be told, I’m feeling blue today as I write this,) but I don’t live in constant negativity.

I remember, there was a shooting near where I lived a year ago, and there was one in a place I’d been to, not long before. The day the first incident happened I got to my youth group and they had the door locked, my sister and I had to announce ourselves. We got in a found everyone freaked out. Though not enough to stay home apparently. But I felt calm. I thought, hey even if a gun wielding maniac charges in here, (unlikely as it is) I’ll rely on Jesus to protect me. I don’t think I ‘m going to die that way.

I will not call this bravery because it was not tested, but it was at least an assurance I never used to have. A couple years before, I would have been dying to go home and called my mom.

This may sound weird, but I often consider that someday my faith may put me in mortal danger. I expect it to, all I have to do is go to a country where they are killing Christians, or I could be in this country and meet a radical terrorist. Who knows? (I am not saying terrorists only target Christians by the way, but they especially hate them.) Am I going to let that stop me?

No.

I still struggle with fear sometimes, but it is very weak now. And I will not let it dictate my life. I am a firm believer that you cannot die tell God says so.

And in this more than anything else I rely on God. If you could understand what it was like to live in fear every day and not have God, it would make sense  to you why I can’t leave Him out of this.

But I did have Him actually, I realized afterward that God was there the whole time, I was just ignoring Him. I half knew I was.

But not to pontificate.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is when love for something more important than fear overcomes it. That’s my paraphrase of the saying.

I think that’s enough for this post. Until next time–Natasha.

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