“Be strong and of good courage.” That’s what Joshua heard, over and over again. “Psst… Joshua! Be strong and o—
“Yeah-yeah-yeah–be strong and of good courage. Got the 4-1-1, Lord. What gives, though? Why do you keep telling me this?”
“Well, Josh, since you asked. . .”
I hate it when having one of those conversations with God. He always makes sense, which really messes up a perfectly plausible argument weighted in my favor. I sometimes spend hours working on those.
Okayfine. Mouth closed and brain engaged, I’m thinking along with God. “Now that you mention it, Lord, I guess if there’s good courage there must be not-so-hot courage. . . ?”
“It’s okay to call it bad courage. Good? Bad? You know, those concepts the real bright people have decided don’t exist? Right and Wrong, Good and Evil?”
“Right-right. Why is that, God?”
“Nice try. Don’t change the subject. Bad courage is when you’re all gung-ho to walk with Me until some challenges come. When you actually have to BE and DO some things to stand for Me, My Word and My people, suddenly it’s convenient to begin practicing situational ethics and selective retention.”
Dan is practicing judicious silence. Silence before one of greater wisdom is commendable, grasshopper.
“Oh, thank you, God. I just figured tha— did You just say, ‘grasshopper’?
God is smiling. . .
Hebrews 10:26-39 talks about starting out boldly with God, brash and self-assured; but caving when things in life get real. Anybody can be ‘goodly’ courageous then. And I’m aware the concept of bad courage seems like an oxymoron.
Let me make the distinction this way. Bad courage is when you know deep inside you should be standing for decency, what is right and good and worthy of your best efforts – but when the time comes to stand and be counted you remain seated and hope they skip you. Courage is still in the warming shelf of your spirit; it just isn’t hot and ready to serve up.
Yeah. Tupperware leftovers courage. Meh.
So. Here’s part of the devotional prayer generated by this passage:
“I submit myself to your examination and ask to see myself as you see me. In the face of suffering or ridicule, I want to stand strong in truth, always aware that confidence and perseverence will be richly rewarded in the life to come. May I not be among those who shrink back and are destroyed, but among those who hold on to faith and keep their souls. In the name of Jesus I ask. Amen.”
Yeah. Given the choice between good and bad courage, why practice anything but the good kind? God’s often surprised me, but never once has He let me down or failed to take care of me during rough days and nights.
As for me? That’s plenty of reason to be of good courage!
© D. Dean Boone, September 2015