Courage Under Fire: Love Makes Us Brave
by Marilynn Chadwick I agree with Indiana Jones: “I hate snakes!” Maybe some of you share my distaste for these slithery reptiles. A while back, when cleaning our garage, our son found a small copperhead hiding behind a box. My first response was, “Yikes! Go hide!” My next thought was, “Go get ‘em!” I grabbed the nearest gardening tool and went after that snake with a warrior-like vengeance, sending him into the grave! Why? Because he was in my garage…near my kitchen door…a threat to my home and family! Though I’m scared of snakes, my love for my family made me brave. Maybe you can relate. Is there a time when you did something that scared you in order to protect someone you loved? If so, you were showing courage, or what the Bible often refers to as valor. I’m captivated by the Hebrew word for valor, chayil. In the Orthodox Jewish Bible translation, chayil is used to describe the famed Proverbs 31 woman. “Who can find a woman of valor?” (Proverbs 31:10). Clearly, she was part nurturer and part warrior. Chayil is used to describe David’s mighty men of valor. It is also used to describe a reluctant hero named Gideon. Simply put, “valor,” or chayil, is personal bravery in the face of danger—especially courage in battle. In its nearly 100 uses in the Old Testament, chayil most often depicts warriors. I believe we need to become courageous men and women of valor as we face today’s battles: addiction, divorce, poverty, injustice, domestic violence, child abuse, abortion, poverty, unemployment, pornography, human trafficking, joblessness, homelessness, racism, persecution, terrorism. I’m sure you could add to this list. As I listen to conversations with men and women of all ages, stages, and walks of life, I’m hearing a recurring theme —their heart’s desire to be strong for their families and communities. In short, they long to be courageous so God can use them to change the world. Is God calling you to have more courage? Remember, it’s love that makes you brave.