by Rachel Booher Ross
Courage…where does it come from? Why do some people seem to have it in great measure, while others shrink and fade when courage is required?
I guess I’ve always thought courage was just an innate quality…you have it or you don’t…almost like a personality trait. But the more that I think on courage, the more that I’ve come to believe that courage comes down to choices and voices.
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, chronicling his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, Viktor Frankl observed that those who survived and those who died had one stark difference. Those who survived had hope. They believed that their family, a loved one, or someone they valued deeply was going to survive. The ones whose lives shrank into the shadows believed all was lost and no one would survive. This had a direct impact on their stamina to face the harsh conditions and their physical ability to fight off sickness and disease. Hope.
I don’t think that it is possible to have courage without hope (the confident expectation of good). And hope, in large degree, comes down to the choices that we make about the voices that we allow to thrive inside of our hearts and minds. Our ability take act courageously will be determined by these echoes.
I am a Christ follower. So when it comes to hope, mine is unassailable. The Father is working all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Paul, Romans 8). This means that nothing can separate me from His love or His purposes for my life. Even if I face difficulty and hardship, still I know that through my life, His Kingdom will come and His will will be done that His glory and goodness can be seen throughout all of the earth. That is some good soil for hope to take root and grow deeply.
Courage in the face of adversity or opposition becomes easy, when you are sure that you can finish well.
The opposite is also true, you will never behave courageously out of fear, regret, envy, or hopelessness. It just can’t happen.
How do you view the future? How sure are you that you will finish well? What are your expectations for the next 5 years…20 years for yourself…for our world? How you answer these questions will, most likely, determine your legacy be it one of soaring courage or shrinking fear.