I was growing weary in dealing with the bipolar episodes. At times, I thought they would overwhelm me. I could not see how God could bring any good out of it. However, God was doing a work inside of me. Instead of asking, “Why me?”, I looked to God for what I could learn through the bipolar episodes. I also asked God for courage to face the trials in my life. I grew by leaps and bounds as God set me free from my captivity of discouragement. As I reflected upon my Christian walk over the past few years, I realized that God had brought goodness into my life. This was of more value than healing the bipolar disorder. I thanked God for making me complete in Christ. I then had the courage and fortitude to face whatever came my way with God’s strength and courage instead of my own.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you”(Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV).
WHAT’S IN A WORD?
Fortitude is “the strength to bear misfortune, pain…calmly and patiently; firm courage” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary). It is “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).
Courage is “the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave; valor” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary). It is “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). It is to be “bold, confident” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).
Courage and fortitude are described in many places in the Bible. God instructs us not to fear and be of good courage. We can then have His strength to face whatever comes our way.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV).
Read 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. What are we to stand firm in?
Why are we to be strong and courageous?
What are we to do everything in?
We are called to be strong and courageous in our Christian walk. Our faith in God fuels our courage. When we look to God for help, He grants us the courage to do what is in His will for our lives. An example of courage in the Bible is that of Joshua. He was asked to fill the shoes of Moses. What courage would be required! God promised to be with him as He was with Moses.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law by servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7, NIV).
Read Joshua 1:7. What two commands did God open up with?
What did Joshua be careful to do?
What would be the result?
Many times, in the Bible, God tells the people to be strong and courageous and not fear. This did not mean that they would not feel fear but they were to look to God for strength and courage that comes from Him alone. Courage is built up in trials. It makes us stronger in our faith.
YOUR HEART’S DESIRE
Courage – something we all desire to have when we face trials. Our daily lives can seem overwhelming at times. However, God grants us the courage to face whatever comes our way.
How would you define courage?
How would you describe fortitude in relation to your trials?
How has God granted you the strength to face whatever comes your way?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance”(James 1:2, NIV). Courage is built up in us through facing trials. We may feel overwhelmed by the struggles, but God promises to be right there with us. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Name a trial in your life where you felt overwhelmed.
Did you ask “Why me?” or “What can I learn from this?”
How did God show His presence in your trial?
How did God give you the courage to face the trial?
How did your trial strengthen your faith?
What lessons did you learn from the trial?
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20, NIV). Courage and fortitude are built up as we look to God to face trials in His strength instead of our own. God is right there for us. When we ask God, “What can I learn from this?”, God will bring us on a journey to make us whole. Trials builds character in our lives.
Dear Heavenly Father, please grant me courage to face whatever comes my way today. Help me to learn lessons from my trials. Give me strength that only comes through You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
NUGGETS OF WISDOM
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of fear. Author unknown
You will never do anything in this world without courage. James Lane Allen
Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others. Winston Churchill
Courage is grace under pressure. Ernest Hemingway
Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared. Eddie Rickenbacher