Wisdom and Courage
I’ve been reading through the gospel of John, reading aloud to Wyndham. In John 21:18 Jesus tells Peter that in contrast to when Peter was young, dressed himself, and went wherever he wanted to go—this would not be the case in his future. Jesus tells him (likely speaking of the death Peter would die) that when he is older someone else will dress him and lead him where he does not want to go. Peter, though at times failed in courage, would ultimately face incredible difficulties requiring his absolute courage–going where he did not want to go while standing up for Jesus.
While Wyndham’s situation is not like Peter’s, I pause as I think about my once athletic husband who every day must be dressed and have everything done for him, living in a way he would not choose. As I put his shirt on him, dressing him, I am reminded of the humility and courage it takes to live triumphantly while facing difficulties.
Courage is hard. It’s hard because it is only possible when we are fearful. When there is no fear there is no courage. I have long seen the wisdom in Wyndham’s choices to be courageous, yet perhaps I observe his greatest courage during these days. Courage to keep trusting when the future is unknown and scary. Courage to stand strong in spirit when he can’t stand in the body. Courage to accept. Courage to be humble. Courage to be completely vulnerable. Courage to love. Courage to hope.
For years I have seen Wyndham’s courage cause him to follow his faith despite opposition. To address things not popular to address. To stand up for righteousness even if it cost him his job, which it did twice.
This semester I am studying church history from the Reformation to the present. I am humbled by the men and women who had the courage to face formidable opposition because of their faith, and I’m challenged by their courage.
I have continually drawn so much courage and inspiration from Wyndham’s life and example. His courage stays with me and gives me courage. Courage to face the unknown. To do the hard. To keep trusting. To step forward in faith. Just last year, as I was writing on some areas new to me Wyndham was a great support. Though already quite weak and unable to talk well he questioned me about my courage–knowing that if I shared my thoughts I would receive opposition. He wanted to know if I had the needed courage, knowing he had no strength to help pave the way for me. This helps me be courageous. We all desperately need each other to remind us to be courageous.
Courage is oft mentioned in the Scriptures. Most often God, and then God incarnate, Jesus, tells his people to take courage because he is with them. As God was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire, he will be with us as we walk in faith (Daniel 3:25). Isn’t it amazing that there was a fourth “person” in the fire? The beloved Psalm 23 tells us that God is with us while walking through the valley of the shadow of death. He walks with us. We will have fires, we will have valleys of shadows of death, and we will have stormy seas. But we have God with us. In the fire. Through the valley. On the seas. God in us. This is enough.
When we lack courage it is usually because we focus on ourselves, our fears, and difficult situations rather than the mighty hand of God. Note the following scriptures on courage tell us that God is with his people. Just reading them helps fill me with courage. May we all take courage, knowing that our Mighty God paves our way and walks with us. Actually, it’s better than that. He lives in us. How much courage that should give.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” Deut. 31:6 (RSV)
And the LORD commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and of good courage; for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land which I swore to give them: I will be with you.” Deuteronomy 31:23 (RSV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (RSV)
“Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him; for there is one greater with us than with him. 2 Chronicles 32:7 (NRSV)
They saw the works of the LORD, his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Psalm 107:24-31 (NIV2011)
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14 (NASB77)
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matthew 14:25-29 (NIV)
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” John 16:33 (NRSV)
Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord—
for we walk by faith, not by sight—
we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (NASB)
So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What shall man do unto me? Hebrews 13:6 (ASV)
I love this! “We all desperately need each other to remind us to be courageous…..Courage to be humble, courage to be completely vulnerable,, courage to face the unknown, to keep trusting…”. So challenging and inspiring !!! Thank you always for sharing your love and your wisdom! You have such a gift of expression!!!
Thanks for your encouragement, Cynthia. Sending love.
Jeanie thanks for all the great scriptures. I am dealing with the loss of family and relationships. It is hard when you lose those that you spent so much time with them now they are gone. I will be strong and courageous.
Thanks, Annie. Love you.
Thank you for sharing. You are both full of courage because you’re both full of God.
Wyndham’s example will continue to inspire courage in all.
Love you, Marcia. You are a true woman of courage.
“We all desperately need each other to remind us to be courageous.” Thanks as always for being courageous in sharing this difficult journey.
Love you, Katherine.
This comes at a needed time. Thank you. Sending love to you and Wyndham.
Love you, Jennie.
You wrote: “Courage is hard. It’s hard because it is only possible when we are fearful. When there is no fear there is no courage.”
I thought, how can that be? In all the “be of good courage” Scriptures, God/Jesus tell us NOT to fear or be afraid.
EXACTLY! He would not tell us not to fear or be afraid if He didn’t already know that we are!
Oh, Jeanie, this was so inspired by the Holy Spirit and such a revelation to me and I’m sure to others. Such a simple statement can change everything in the way one thinks. This is the power of God! Thank you for sharing.
I am reading the little books of the Bible this month and I offer some courage and inspiration back from Zeph. 3:12-20. In the Women’s Devotional Bible(1990 version, NIV), at that spot in Zephaniah, the devotional writer, Ingrid Trobisch writes of her son, Daniel, and his wife who serve(d) in Christian work with troubled youth in Austria. She asked him, “What is your goal in your ministry?” He quietly answered, “To show people the way Home.” That is how I think of Wyndham; he has always been about showing us the way Home. I love you and Wyndham so very much. Is it possible at this time to come for a short visit? I can get The Ride direct to your home and back from Wakefield. Would either a Tuesday or Wednesday work?
Mitziesmama is my handle here but it’s still me: Dot Cassady 😻
Thank you for such an encouraging post. Yes, God knows our temptation to fear. I am sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. I’m just catching up on comments. A Wednesday for a short visit could work. Since he can’t really care on a conversation probably would need to be short. You are always such an encourager. Sending love, Jeanie