Monday, September 7, 2015

Do I Have Enough Courage?

Courage: facing fears, situations, difficulties, pain, and the unknown without being paralyzed by fear or thwarted from a plan of action

When I was in elementary school, my bedroom was on the second floor of our house. It was a small room with one window. My twin bed stretched from one side of the wall to the other. In later years this room became a closet.

It was in this room where I dreamed dreams. I wanted to be a writer and a teacher, and finally, a minister. But in those days I didn't know of any women ministers. I would read my Bible and pray; I would write poetry and plays. It was in this world that I devoured books like Little Women, The Three Musketeers, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. I could travel through time and back again in my own little world. I reveled in their exploits and my imagination was fueled by their passion.

I was also a student of history, even at a young age. I had a map of the United States and used my mother’s straight pins to plot out the movements and battles of the Civil War.  I then moved on to study other wars. In particular, I was greatly affected by the stories of WWII.  My life was changed forever by the bravery of the four chaplains. Anne Frank’s courage was imprinted on my heart. Later on, Corrie ten Boom, inspired me along with a generation whose lives were stirred by “profiles in courage.”

The question that I always asked myself was this: Do I have what it takes to be courageous? Am I strong enough to stand for something?

Raoul Wallenberg was. Oskar Schindler was. Irena Sendler was. The Danish and French Undergrounds were.

After all these years my heart has been stirred once again. In the past month I have been praying: Lord, show me when to speak, when to listen and when to act. Then I found this quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

Our world is in turmoil. Am I courageous enough to stand in the face of opposition? Am I courageous enough to stand up to political correctness? Am I courageous to stand for what I believe?

And there is the issue: What do I believe? I know I believe in Jesus. He is my Savior. He willingly gave His life for mine. But am I willing to lay down my life for one human being? John 15:13 says: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Do I have that kind of love?

On March 25, 2015 the Lord asked me this question: What does love look like?
Thus began a quest. I can read I Corinthians 13, but I had to experience this for myself. I found out that love is not tolerance. Love is sacrificial. Love is unselfish. Love smiles. Love cries. Love acts.

After a very painful ministry experience with a person whose life had been torn apart through sin, the Lord spoke to my grieving heart. He said: When you hate sin like I hate sin, you will love like I love.

And now I am being challenged again: Do you love enough, completely enough, to stand? Will you stand in the gap? Will you stand and be counted? Will you get on your feet and take a stand?

I have to stop and think about this.

Love requires action.

In a world of few absolutes anymore, I have to know what I believe. I willingly admit: I believe in Jesus. But do I believe Jesus? And finally, do I believe like Jesus?
It is too easy to make excuses in our busy lives. It is too easy to ignore the bigger picture when our own problems distract us. But the Matthew 6:33 is clear: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Regardless of what we are going through individually, if we seek the Kingdom first…God will take care of the rest.

So in this season of my life, God is revealing that in seeking His Kingdom I need His love. I need His passion to have His compassion.  I need His wisdom.  I need to be willing to stand so that others might live. I am being called to action.

I don’t say any of this to bring attention to ourselves but to encourage people as to what they can do. Already, Mike and I have stood to peacefully pray and protest the abhorrent practices of Planned Parenthood. Deuteronomy 30: 19b-20a says:  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

And as if that holocaust alone is not enough, the situation in the Middle East continues to worsen in which Christians are being annihilated for their faith. Our own country is denying these precious lives asylum. We are praying and writing letters to authorities about the atrocities and asking for help. We are giving time and money to save lives…even when it is just a little.  

God is holding us accountable. Matthew 25: 40 says: And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

My dreams started in a little bedroom a long time ago, but they can’t remain dreams any longer. Now it is time to act.

Live life generously. Live life sacrificially. Live life courageously. Love acts. Love.