When You Need Courage To Start Another Day
Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish. Esther 4:16
Ernest Hemingway, when confronted with despairing in his own personal life, took the path of least resistance, and took his own life. In my file is an anonymous quote where somebody wrote, “It takes more courage to be faithful in routine things than to risk one’s life in a moment of spectacular danger.” Do you believe that? Yes, it is one thing to dash into a burning building to snatch a child from the jaws of death, and it is another thing to stand by your sick wife month after month, or to face the routine of a job you don’t particularly like.
“My problems are overwhelming!” “I just can’t cope anymore.” “I wish I had the courage to quit, or to walk out and try something different.” Statements such as those are typical of the letters and email which have come to me in response to this program.
Dr. Rollo May, in his book The Courage to Create, contended that courage is not the opposite of discouragement or despair. He said, “Courage is, rather, the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair.” And I am convinced that it is at this very point where you must find courage, drawing from resources you don’t have. It is right here that the grace of God can provide the courage you lack.
Naturally, when we think of men and women of courage, we think of some of the great heroes of the Bible. We think of Daniel, who faced the den of lions rather than surrender his convictions. We remember a lad by the name of David, who faced the giant, Goliath. And, of course, we recall the courage of Esther, who risked her life for her people, saying, “If I perish, I perish.” But at times instead of inspiring us, those examples only depress us. “But I’m not Esther,” you say, or “Look, I’m just me and I don’t have the kind of stuff that heroes are made of.”
Our problems are not our biggest difficulty. What matters most is our reaction to them. If you believe that all the strength you will ever have is the resources within, then you probably will despair. I would. If, however, I believe that at the end of my resources, which I reach rather quickly, is the strength and power of God to sustain and to do what I cannot do, then I can press on and trust Him. That, friend, is courage born of the conviction that God is enough. When you believe that, you can press on no matter what confronts you. It is this that enables the single parent to face the future. It is this strength which allows you to face one day at a time and keep on keeping on.
It takes more courage to be faithful in routine things than to risk your own life in a moment of spectacular danger. The great unsung heroes of courage are the little people who keep on in spite of great difficulties, and you may well be one of them. Grenville Kleiser wrote these words of encouragement: “Press on! Though mists obscure/ the steep and rugged way, / and clouds of doubt beset, / Soon dawns the brighter day. / Keep on! Though hours be long, / And days deep-fraught with woe, / Let patience have her perfect work, / And vanquish every foe / Hope on! Though all seems lost/ And storms beat high, Have faith! Be still and know/ That God is nigh.”
Over 500 years ago Thomas a`Kempis wrote, “It is good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing… When a man of good will is afflicted… he realizes clearly that his greatest need is God, without whom he can do no good.”