Courage Under Fire: Doing Hard Things
by Marilynn Chadwick We’ve been exploring practical ways to increase our courage. We see in 1 Samuel 30:1-7 how King David strengthened himself after a devastating attack by the Amalekites. David first got alone and "strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam 30:6b ESV). He sought God's wisdom. Then he courageously obeyed God's instructions. In the Hebrew language, the words “strength” and “courage” are interchangeable. So when David “strengthened himself in the Lord,” he also gained new courage to fight his battles. The brave warrior gathered his men and set out to attack the Amalekites—with God's assurance of victory. And sure enough, David brought back all the women and children that had been captured, as well as all the property. He had experienced God’s power in battle before, so he was certain God could be trusted again. David's courageous obedience resulted in a thrilling victory. In both Hebrew and Greek, the original Bible languages, the words for listen and obey are virtually the same. So hearing God implies that I will obey his marching orders. If I want to grow strong in the Lord, it’s vital that I learn to both hear and obey. What’s more, obedience to the voice of God increases both strength and courage. But sometimes, God asks us to do hard things. What about you? Do you sometimes avoid stepping into the fray—as I've been known to do? Especially when he asks me to do something that calls for courage and self-sacrifice. Remember, we have an advantage over King David when it comes to hearing God. For one thing, as believers in Christ, we have the gift of his Holy Spirit who dwells in us. So we have access to God's voice in a much more intimate way. And second, we have the entire Bible available to us. Imagine how David would have felt if he had the whole Bible in his hands—complete with his own book of Psalms! Learning from King David, we must sometimes withdraw and give God time to speak to us. A few minutes each day to read and reflect on God's promises—letting them sink down deep—are nourishment to our soul. God's Word sharpens our inner hearing of God’s voice. Jesus said believers will recognize his voice. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27 NIV). Has God ever asked you to do a hard thing? Did you say yes? How did obedience to God's Word help you grow stronger? Increase your courage? Perhaps he is asking you to do a hard thing today.