Courage: Will You Have It When You Need It?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Lord God is with you wherever you go.

the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous, strength in the face of pain or grief, the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

How often are you called upon to have courage?  I think if we're honest, the answer would probably be 'a lot'.  Life can be pretty intimidating, whether it be when facing challenges, health scares, new jobs, etc...  Whether we're five or 55, there are times in our lives when we are faced with a situation that can only be conquered with courage.  Some of those situations require a little courage; some require courage of epic proportion.  Recently I learned about two people who are living their lives in a way that exhibits the epic variety of courage and I wanted to share a little of their story with you today.

The first person I wanted to introduce you to is Thomas Walls.  I don't know Thomas, but I learned about him through a friend of mine.  Thomas is 38 years old.  Like many, Thomas felt as though he needed to do something out of the ordinary, something that required him to step out of his comfort zone, challenge him in ways he'd never been challenged.  So....Thomas is walking (yes, walking) across the country.  He began his journey on May 1st from Plymouth Rock, MA and will finish his journey when he finally reaches San Diego, CA.  Thomas is carrying a 40 lb. backpack and is pushing a stroller with another 40 lbs. of gear and life essentials.   Along his journey he camps wherever he can, but sometimes he treats himself to a comfy hotel bed and hot shower.  Sometimes he meets old or new friends along the way who are kind enough to put him up for the night, buy him a meal or even enjoy a meal with him.  To give you an idea of just how challenging his journey......yesterday Thomas crossed the state line between Ohio and Indiana.  Why is that such a big deal, you ask?  Well, it took Thomas about a month to walk across the state of Ohio and so far in his journey, he has walked about 1000 miles!!!!  He has crossed 5 states and will cross 9 more.......and he's only a third of the way to his destination.  As if the walking itself isn't impressive enough, think for a minute about what it must be like to walk - alone - across the United States......the sore feet, the loneliness, the obvious scariness of tenting in the middle of nowhere alone, the fear of possible health issues, the fear of strangers taking advantage of your vulnerability, the fear of failure in not achieving your goal. Thomas for sure needs to call upon so many personal resources, not the least of which is courage.

The second person I want to tell you about is Norma.  Norma and her husband, Leo, were married for 67 years.  Leo was dying.  During the same two-week period that Leo was admitted to Hospice, Norma found out she had a cancerous mass in her uterus. Two days after Leo died, Norma sat in an exam room, listening while the doctors explained her treatment options - chemo, radiation and the like.  Norma, having already discussed the possible news and treatment outcomes earlier with her family, had made up her mind that she did not want any sort of treatment.  When the doctor finished explaining her options, Norma, a tiny woman at 101 pounds and under five-feet tall, looked the young doctor dead in the eye and with the strongest voice she could muster, said, “I’m 90-years-old, I’m hitting the road.”  So last September Norma and her family hit the road in an RV and have crossed the country from the Atlantic to Pacific, enjoying tourist attractions all along the way.  Norma was even in our neck of the woods over Memorial Day weekend when she visited Lake George and took a cruise on the Minne-ha-ha!  Instead of accepting the options offered to her, Norma took matters into her own hands and chose to embrace the time she had left and live it under her own terms.  Norma had the courage to trust herself, and God, and chose to embrace whatever life she had left.  Yesterday Norma enjoyed a wonderful day in Friday Harbor, Washington.  

Now I'm not suggesting that we ignore medical advice and refuse treatment when it's recommended, nor am I suggesting we hit the road with a backpack either, but I am suggesting we think a little about courage.  I doubt you'll get through the next few days without once needing to rely on courage to get you through something, even if only a little something.  Maybe it will involve speaking in front of a group of your peers, perhaps it will involve driving in traffic, maybe it's bringing your kid to college for the first time.  When that moment comes, you will need courage.

This week our granddaughter, Elena, is attending vacation bible school at our church.  The theme is Cave Quest and each day the kids are exploring ways God is present in their lives, giving them hope, love, direction, power and COURAGE.  Today when they talked about courage, they referred to Matthew 14:27 "Take Courage.  It is I.  Don't be afraid." They even had a chance to walk on water:

Jesus Gives Us Courage

So, it wasn't really water.  It was cornstarch and water but it gave the kids an idea of what it might feel like to walk on water.  Although this exercise may not have given them enough courage to really walk on water, at the end of the day, I'm pretty positive all 75 kids went home knowing that God will give them courage to face any adversity. Throughout the day, every time the kids heard the phrase, "Jesus gives us courage," they had to yell out, "Follow Him". This evening, Elena shared her version of today's message with her parents in this innocent note:

Follow Him

If a five year old can believe that God will give us courage, we can believe it too.  Next time you are facing one of life's many challenges, remember the examples I shared with you today.  Think of Thomas and his journey across the country - on foot.  Think of Norma embracing life on her own terms, free of fear, and full of courage and enthusiasm.  Think of the 75 kids at Vacation Bible School this week, innocent, trusting and open to possibilities and promises, believing God is there for them like He's there for you.

To follow Thomas' journey and offer encouragement, use this link to follow him on Facebook:
To follow Norma's journey and be inspired by her spirit and her smile, follow her on Facebook:

Thank you for reading and coming along on my journey through Life As I See It.  If today's post made you stop and think, please consider sharing it with a friend using the links at the bottom of this post - on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Email.  And remember.....whatever you face....God will give you courage too!

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