Friday, November 16, 2007

Bravery, like Custer's last stand?

Warriors are strong (or valiant), the word of God lives in them, as they overcome the Evil One. Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt, both believed that courage was the foremost of all virtues, because they saw that all other virtues depend on it. It takes courage to love, because we all know loving means you will be hurt and sometimes repeatedly. It takes courage to have faith, because we all know that your faith will be sorely tested. It takes courage to be honest, and so on, there are several types of bravery—physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Read any biographical account of battlefield heroes, or heroes of any kind, and what stands out is their physical bravery. Hal Moore as the first to step on, and the last to step off, the field in the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam. The firemen who ran up the stairs of the World Trade Center while everyone else was running down. Physical bravery is cultivated in great part by adventure, and sports, by intentionally putting yourself in dangerous situations. Emotional bravery is developed in most cases of physical bravery, for he will have to master fear, but it is also formed when a young man takes risks in relationships. It might mean risking embarrassment by making a speech in front of a class. It might mean risking rejection by making a new friend, or confronting a good friend on some issue. It will require him to leave a party when the kids start doing things they shouldn’t be doing. He will need emotional bravery in large measure when he enters into marriage, for a man does sometimes, when he finds himself involved with the mysteries of a woman’s soul.

The important thing in cultivating emotional bravery is helping the boy learn not to quit, teaching him to rise above setbacks and heartbreaks. Spiritual bravery is cultivated when we take risks of faith. This is the greatest bravery, as far as I’m concerned. Think of the many martyrs, like Polycarp going to his execution. He had been warned in a vision that he would be burned at the stake, but he would not let fear seize him. Refusing to confess Caesar as Lord, the old saint went to his death willingly, even to the point of telling his tormentors it would not be necessary to nail him to the stake, that he would remain there by the grace of God. For he heard a voice from heaven say, “Play the man,” and play the man he did.

So to take a stand in life, is truly an act of bravery, for when we do, I believe that not only are we helping ouselves, we help others by showing the way.
By guiding them to see us as we display a real test of faith and now they know that they can also do the same.
The only warning that I have, is to not make your stand without much prayer (listen to God) and reflect about His words with much thought.
For no one wants to make their test of faith, like Custer's last stand.

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