Despite days of incredible loneliness, times of almost unbearable sadness, the words that most often fell from Theresa’s lips were, “God allows nothing to happen except for His glory and my good.”
This response to extreme hardship defines what it means to be a courageous Christian.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines courage as “the attitude or response of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult or painful, instead of withdrawing from it.”
Two significant things stand out in this definition. First, courage is only necessary in the presence of something difficult. When life is easy, no courage is required.
Second, courage is only necessary when we choose to deal with difficulty. If we walk away from the difficulty, no courage is required.
Jesus’ disciples faced a test of courage when they were sailing on the Sea of Galilee one day. Jesus was sleeping in the boat when a storm came up. The men feared for their lives, and, when things got bad enough, they awakened Jesus. Jesus, the creator and ruler of all, quieted the storm with just his words. Then, he turned to the disciples and asked, “Where is your faith?” (see Luke 8:22-25).
This simple question further defines courageous Christianity: Courageous Christianity is responding to life’s storms with faith.
The apostle Paul understood courage. He lived a life of almost constant difficulty and was always able to respond in faith. Consider the list of his hardships in 1 Corinthians 11:
~ flogged severely
~ exposed to death again and again
~ forty lashes minus one (five times)
~ beaten with rods (three times)
~ in danger from bandits
~ often gone without sleep
~ hunger and thirst
~ cold and naked