What is courage? I am hosting an event at my house for a bunch of awesome ladies, and we’re focusing on women of courage from the Bible. I may end up leading a devotional one day (if I can ever get my act together) so I’ve been trying to do some study on what makes somebody courageous.
I know that courage isn’t just blindly racing into danger without fear; that’s foolishness. Courage is action in spite of fear. But what does courage look like?
Is courage flashy? Is it those intense moments like when David fought Goliath? Is it those scary moments like on the battlefield? Is it the underdog going up against all odds? Is it bold action? Is it obvious?
Today’s verse is 1 Samuel 30:6.
David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
No, not the verse you were probably expecting about courage. We usually think Joshua when we talk about courage in the church because that is the greatest verse about having courage. Joshua 1:9. Take courage! Don’t be afraid! Yes, it’s a great verse, but Joshua was a warrior facing a warrior’s goal.
David was also a warrior, and while this was definitely a time in David’s life when he had to do a lot of fighting, that’s not what was going on right here. See, David and his men were out, and while they were out, their enemies attacked their camp and carried off all their valuables, including their wives and children.
Not a good day.
His men were angry. Who wouldn’t have been? But they blamed him. They wanted to kill him. They were so angry about losing their families they wanted someone to take the fall, which is understandable, but could you imagine what would have happened if they’d killed David? Yeah. Glad that didn’t happen.
But my interest this morning is David’s reaction: David found strength in the Lord his God.
I don’t know David personally, but I’ve read enough of his writing to have something of an insight into his personality. David was a passionate, emotional person. He didn’t just devote part of his heart to any task. It was all or nothing. And up until this point in his life, David hadn’t really failed much. Yes, there were things he probably could have done better, but he’d never lost a step. Not like this.
And if his men were upset, I guarantee David was more upset. And I guarantee he blamed himself. That’s who David was. He loved people. He loved his men. He loved his family. So how do you think he felt when he realized that he had failed them?
Well, he probably would have let them stone him.
There have been points in my life where I feel like I have failed so miserably that it’s not worth getting up in the morning. There have been days when I have been so depressed and so discouraged that living–just making it from day-to-day–has taken more strength than I thought I had. And on those days, the prospect of life as usual is terrifying in a way that I can’t explain.
Have you ever been there? If you have, you know what I’m talking about. Life is dreary. Even though deep inside you know the world is still colorful and beautiful, but it’s like you’re viewing life in black and white.
On those days, to pick yourself up and push yourself forward takes courage. But it’s not the flashy battlefield kind of courage. It’s quiet courage, the kind of courage that keeps you moving forward when all you really want to do is give up. And that kind of courage often goes unnoticed. Or it’s mistaken for faith or perseverance, and that’s what it is to a certain extent. But if you’re going to endure through difficult times without being able to see what’s at the end of the road, you have to have courage. Maybe it’s everyday courage, but it’s still courage.
When David faced his men — his brothers in arms — knowing that they were angry with him for the loss of their families, the only way he could continue to lead was to take strength from God.
And that’s what we have to do. On those difficult days when the world seems gray and dreary, when life doesn’t feel worth living, when getting out of bed seems like more trouble than it’s worth, we need to remember that God is still working. He’s still got something for us to do, otherwise we wouldn’t still be here.
God has proven Himself over and over and over again throughout history, and when He offers to help us, we just need to take Him at His Word. We just need to get up. And we just need to keep going.
Remember that God isn’t going anywhere. He hasn’t left you. And He’s standing ready to help whenever you call.
If you read the rest of 1 Samuel 30, David and his men tracked down their enemies, took back their possessions, and didn’t lose a single person. God gave them victory from the ashes of defeat and blessed them more greatly than they could have achieved on their own.
So strengthen yourself today by remembering who God is and who you are to God. And be courageous. Maybe not battlefield courageous but everyday courageous, and God will give you victory. He has a long history of that sort of thing.