I imagine you know someone who you would say is brave. As I have been taking in the Olympic Games, there have been a number of stories of bravery, stories of athletes overcoming tremendous obstacles, facing their fears and bravely putting forth the effort to train and compete. One brave gymnast, Samir Ait Said from France who, in the preliminaries, was ready to stick his landing from his vault but instead hit the mat at just the wrong angle and snapped his left leg. Some of you might have seen the painful photos that flooded the internet of his leg, now bent where it should not be bent! All that training, all that sacrifice, gone in a moment. And if that’s not all, they dropped the stretcher on the way to the ambulance! You would think Ait Said would have been so depressed and dejected that he would just fade into the disappointment and move on with life. However, with a smile and a thumbs up, he has vowed to return to the sport. Now that’s bravery; the grit and will to push through the pain, the emotions, the impediments, and press on in life.
Now there is more to this story as reported on August 6th by USA Today. USA Today found that at the European championships, just a few months before the 2012 Games, Ait Said broke his right leg, his tibia, in three places, again on the vault! Yet, even after these two setbacks, he is vowing to come back. That’s being brave.
Bravery comes in many forms; the new kid at a new school with no friends reaching out to get to know others, the single mom balancing work – parenting – finances – life all on her own stepping up to have joy regardless of the circumstance, the small business owner overcoming discouragement by sharpening their skills and being good at their craft, the cancer patient facing another round of chemo or those difficult words, “its back” and pressing on through the fatigue, the retiree pushing aside the temptation to just exist to take on new adventures, the person in financial ruin, grieving the loss, yet getting back up and getting back to making a living. See, bravery is overcoming fear and pressing on.
The Bible challenge us with bravery, but bravery that comes not from mustering it up from within ourselves, but from a faith in a loving and caring God.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
God is with you and wants each of us to trust in Him.
Proverbs 3:5-8 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
The truth is there is much to fear in life; relationships don’t always blossom as we hoped, finances are fleeting, some people are mean or hurtful or unkind, accidents happen, risk is risky, persecution is real, sometimes evil/wrong/dishonesty seems to win, growing old is a bit scary, and life is not certain nor pain free. Yet, despite the fears of life we can be brave knowing God will be with us.
Not only can we be brave because of God, but as we grow in faith towards Him, we are given a brave heart.
2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
It is that brave heart that has a steadfast trust in God that, regardless of the circumstance, He will work it for His glory and our good. That good may be different than what we expected, but a good that is in line with God’s purposes and character.
So be brave. I’m sure you face fears, obstacles, and difficulties, so turn to God, trust in Him and be brave as you face the trials of the day.
One place to be encouraged and inspired on to brave living is a church. If you are not already connected to a church, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or one of our branch churches in either Los Alamitos or Garden Grove this week. Our website has all the information you would need. www.cypresschurch.net .
Seeking to be brave alongside you,