Courage is an interesting word and an even more interesting concept. What does it mean to have courage or to be courageous? How does that word play into the concepts of both encouragement or discouragement?
The dictionary defines it as:
I do know this… life takes courage. For some, it takes courage simply to get out of bed each morning. I see the courage it takes for my friends to parent their children. It takes courage to take risks in our jobs, ministry, and life. It takes courage to speak truth with love.
Life takes courage. And it seems God agrees. Joshua 1:9 has been a verse that keeps popping up everywhere I turn in the last year. As this book begins, God is talking to a man named Joshua before he took over the overwhelming task of leading thousand and thousands of God’s people:
“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.”
“Courage” comes from the original words for “heart” and “age”. And perhaps as we grow older and age, courage does become a slight bit easier; we grow in our ability to stare right at the toughest parts of life and defiantly take one more step when everything about it says “I can’t”. Yet, here was Joshua at an estimated 96 years old needing God’s reminder: there’s no need for fear, there’s no need to let things deprive your heart of confidence. I, the God of the Universe will be with you every step of the way.
God called attention to the fact that courage for Joshua was not simply a suggestion, it was a command. And I think we all need a little reminder from time to time and perhaps that’s exactly what it means to encourage someone… to remind them… courage is in them and it’s not just a suggestion; it’s necessary.
So take courage my friend, not because you have your life together or know exactly what the next step is. Rather face into whatever lies ahead with confidence and strength knowing you never walk alone!