Courage For The Time

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” 1 Peter 4:12-13

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.” Psalms 27:14

This world seems like it’s on fire these days. I suppose in a lot of ways, there are always pieces of the world that are like that—the crazy has just seemed to move closer to home. My heart aches for so many suffering in the world right now—so many waking up to bad news, wars, death, fear, broken relationships, loss.

We were watching The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe last night, and the scene of the witch and her army was so descriptive of what I feel surrounds us right now in so many areas of our lives. Death, destruction, hatred, fighting and insecurity are all the focus of the day. Our courage takes a beating, and it is tempting to cower and hide, hoping to come out when it’s sunny and beautiful again.

Now, I think the Bible is pretty clear that things are going to be bad in our world, especially before Jesus comes back. And they’ve been much worse in the past. But how do we get through the day surrounded by the mayhem?

We choose not to live in fear. We choose to look at Jesus, allowing Him to be our steady rock while the waves crash all around us. We recognize that the only strength or courage we have is from Him.

We choose to praise God in the midst of the storm. God’s character is not defined by the circumstances that surround you—His character remains true in spite of the circumstances. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I can’t always explain the why of things, but I come back to the truth that God loves me furiously (as Brennan Manning talks about in The Furious Longing of God—just finished that book and it rocked my world), that He is good and that He has a plan for me—a plan that is greater than just the current containment of this world. He is preparing me to be the bride of Christ. What does that look like? I haven’t a clue! But He does, so I’m going to trust Him on that one.

We choose to be thankful for the wonderful gifts from our good Father. There are plenty if you will but look. So often we get distracted by the negatives in our life and forget the amazing grace we experience every day. Don’t obsess on what you don’t have, but sit thankful for the gifts you are given today.

And when you do get hung up on the fear, the frustration, the wishing you could go be a hermit somewhere (like I do) then you come back to the amazing love of Jesus again and again. He isn’t impatient with your distraction. He calls you back to Him, to experience His indiscriminate love. He isn’t afraid of your brokenness, but rather knows that in your brokenness, He can shine all the brighter. He is the courage you need for the day ahead.

We remember that hope shines anew each day. However bleak that surrounding can seem, the brilliant light of hope radiates around us like the sunrise. Even death does not destroy it, for our hope is in one who defeated death. “The Lord my God illumines my darkness.” Psalms 18:28b

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