Courage. Many graduations will be taking place soon. The picture here is my daughter’s graduation cap for Texas A&M University. As I looked at this graduation cap, the word “courage” jumped out at me and I thought about the courage that now determines so many lives as graduates take the next step in the world.
One of the most famous stories of all times is in 1 Samuel 17 – David and Goliath. There was a massive man named Goliath who stepped out of the Philistine ranks to defy and taunt the army of Israel and its God. No one dared to accept the fight to the death challenge except a teenage boy named David.
The popular moral of the story is to get out there and face your giant because the courageous come out on top. However, David’s courage was a derivative virtue because it was empowered by something else.
We know the Philistine, Goliath, was about nine feet tall and incredibly strong. To fight Goliath looked like suicide. Goliath did not look like suicide to David, who was physically outclassed more than anyone. He knew the stories of how God had overcome one giant adversary after another. Many people had personally seen God do amazing things. Many men lacked courage because at this moment they lacked faith. Despite all the stories and past experiences, Goliath looked bigger than God.
So what made David different? What fueled David’s courage was his confidence in God’s promises and God’s power to fulfill them. The reality was David’s courage wellspring. He was not self-confident; he was God-confident. He believed that God would never break his promise. David went out knowing that God would give him victory over Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:46-47 “This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
This read is not only for graduates but for everyone. When the source of our courage is God, we can be like David and fuel our confidence and courage to face our giants. I love this read by Desiring God-J. Bloom. As I read, I realized personally that my courage has matured because of my abounding faith in God and that he is my source. Do not let fear intimidate you into unbelief.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 “Because of this I remind you to rekindle the flame of the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of self-control.” Spiritual courage is the power, love and self-control of the Holy Spirit burning with great passion for Christ in our hearts. Extraordinary acts of spiritual courage come from ordinary people who burn with zeal for Jesus. (Statham)