In 1939 one of the most famous movies ever made was released. The movie was “The Wizard of Oz.” Based on L. Frank Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, the movie followed a young girl from Kansas named Dorothy as she traveled through the strange land of Oz to find the wizard, who would hopefully help her return home.
Even though the flying monkeys scared me as a child, I enjoyed watching the movie. I was especially fond of the Cowardly Lion. Even though he wanted to be courageous and fierce, he simply didn’t think he had it in him. When faced with something frightening, the Cowardly Lion was more apt to scream, run and hide than he was to stand his ground or move forward.
By definition, courage is the ability to do something in spite of fear. Courage is something we attribute to soldiers, police officers and firemen. These men and women boldly face dangerous, life-threatening situations almost daily. Therefore, esteeming them as “courageous” is most definitely appropriate!
However, the everyday life of the average person also calls for courage, especially when it comes to living a life of faith. We all know that Jesus’ actions often put Him in opposition with many in His community and the religious leaders. To boldly stand and proclaim the kingdom of God was risky. Today, not much has changed. As I’ve mentioned before, the kingdom of God stands in opposition to many of today’s accepted cultural norms. And to go against the social grain isn’t always well accepted.
In the first Chapter of the book of Joshua, we hear of how God called Joshua, Moses predecessor, to lead the Israelite people into the land He was to give them. It was as a daunting task, to say the least. The land was an unknown territory with unknown inhabitants. I can only imagine Joshua felt the weight of the task before him. So, after reminding Joshua to keep the commandments He had given to Moses, God said to Joshua in verse 9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
“Be strong and courageous.” When it comes to walking by faith, these are words to live by. In today’s social climate, where tension, hostility, anger, and distaste for each other are easily riled, sharing love, exhibiting compassion, and seeking justice can be met with skepticism and even rejection. Yet it is into this social climate that we have been called to proclaim Christ. It is also into this social climate that we carry with us the promise God made to Joshua when God called him to serve: “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
So, go! Go wherever God leads you proclaiming Christ and God’s Kingdom boldly and with courage, remembering that the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!