11 April, 2007

Faith versus Courage

I have wanted to put these thoughts into well-formed words. I simply lack anything like the time (after that one open weekend, things have gone back to their old pressure again so far.) So, let me jot down a quick couple of paragraphs, in raw form, and see what we make of it.

I was raised Assemblies of God. The church I was in was fundamentalist-charismatic. We expected God to hear us and help us with guidance, healing, and control of our circumstances. We followed a living and active God.

I learned from them that courage was a bad thing.

"What!?" you ask.

Really. Maybe I should not have, but I did.

You see:
+ If we were quiet, God would lead us into all truth.
+ If we were obedient, God would keep us.
+ If we prayed sincerely, God would answer our prayers.
+ If we asked, He would heal.
+ If we were spiritual, He would keep us in perfect peace.
+ If our circumstances were bad, faith would still rejoice in Him.

The unintended consequence of those teaches was I learned courage was bad. Courage was what you had to get by on if your faith was not up to the task.

Faith was the ultimate, "Happy place."

Are you worried that your marriage is about to end? Quiet yourself before the Lord. Obey His commands. Pray sincerely, and get everyone else praying, too. Ask that He heal you, your spouse and your marriage. Give Him all your distressed feelings, and take His peace in their place. And keep praying until you find it in your heart to rejoice.

In quietness and confidence is your strength, so now wait on Him.

That doesn't work.

Courage is needed. Courage admits how very afraid I am, and looks my problems square in the eye and makes a plan. I have found that applying courage where I used to apply my misunderstood faith has begun to make me a happy person for the first time in my life. Happy with myself, and happy with my Lord.

In my life, I have been finding:
+ Courage seeks wisdom, not answers, then decides.
+ Courage acts, instead of just obeying.
+ Courage prays, then works, instead of waiting for the clouds to part.
+ Courage spends its life with God, knowing He may heal, but rehabbing hard until then.
+ Courage finds peace in a good exhaustion, rather than hoping God drops it from heaven.
+ Courage lets me rejoice in the team God and I make.

Picture a father and his munchkin working at chopping down a tree. They take turns with the axe. You and I can both guess who's really making chips. But if that little boy gets scared and stands 100 feet away, exercising faith that daddy can get everything done safely, he learns nothing.

But if that boy is standing one hatchet length away from that tree when it begins to sway, and if he decides where to strike next, and if he hits that place (even on the third try) and that tree begins to fall, he is going to experience the exhilaration of having stuck out a big, scary job. And he's going to be that little bit closer to being a man, because of who he and his father were as a team. That burst of pride he is going to feel is a good thing, and the first thing he'll do with it is turn around share it in a beaming smile with his father.

Losing a marriage, or losing a church, or facing an illness is a mighty, mighty tree to face.

Real faith makes a plan and grabs the hatchet.


Milly said...

This is why you were missed. Very good Cowboy.

Missy said...

That kind of sounds like faith in action to me :) Great post!

Andreia said...

I love this Kevin! It reminds me of one of my favorite songs by Keith Lancaster called Don't Be Afraid. I sing it to my kids and myself when I need courage.

UUGGH! I tried to link it but for some reason cant get it linked, so LOOK it up! There is a free sample at payplay.com!

Milly said...

are you talking out this one?

Do not be afraid, for I am with you
Do not be afraid, declares the Lord
Do not be afraid, for I am with you
And will rescue you forever more

Moses led his band to the promised land
Everyone was scared that there'd be a fight
So they sent some men to see if they would win
If they were to challenge the Canaanites
Ten of the men were afraid of that land
Thinking they would be better off dead
Caleb and Joshua had different thoughts
And this is what they said, they said. . .

Scriptural Reference:

"That night the Lord appeared to him and said, 'I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you." Genesis 26:24a
"The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.' 'Ah, Sovereign Lord,' I said, 'I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.' The Lord said to me, 'Do not say, "I am only a child." You must go to everyone I sed you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,' declares the Lord." Jeremiah 1:4-8

Andreia said...

The lyrics are as follows.


Be strong and courageous

And do not be afraid

The Lord goes with you

Each and every day


He'll never forsake you

(Be strong and courageous and do not be afraid)

Don't be afraid

(The Lord goes with you each and every day)

The Lord goes before you

Through the trouble and strife

And He will protect you

All the days of your life

Words and Music by Keith Lancaster. Copyright 1195 Anthony K. Music (ASCAP)

MIlly said...

We still sing that one once in a while at my church. I sing it to myself. For those who were wondering it's a chant kind of thing.

codepoke said...

Thanks for the lyrics.

You can't link at payplay because it's a for-pay site. The thing won't work without a signin. Maybe someday. Thanks for the thought, though.

Milly said...

I'll copy it and play it for you on your voice mail. ;-}

codepoke said...

An answer for the ages. Or at least for mid-June or so.

Andreia said...

You don't have to sign in! There is a little green arrow that says free sample, trust me!
good one milly!