The legendary Jeopardy! host told his fans, “I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working.” He added courageously, “With the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”
On the theme of courage in the news, Martha McSally disclosed this week that she was raped in the Air Force by a superior officer. The ex-pilot and current Arizona senator told an interviewer yesterday that she made her announcement to bring attention to the problem of sexual assaults in the military.
Speaking to other sexual abuse victims, the senator said, “Don’t let your assaulter rob you of your future. Don’t do it.” She hopes that telling her story will “inspire others to get through their own dark times.”
Since the Pentagon recently reported that incidents of sexual assault at military academies are up by nearly 50 percent, Sen. McSally’s statement is even more significant and urgent.
Hailey Bieber’s life mission
Living as fallen people with other fallen people on a fallen planet requires courage.
Supermodel Hailey Bieber recently discussed her life mission, declaring that the “bigger purpose” behind her modeling career is “to be a light in this place.” She added: “I’m here to represent Jesus through me for other people—for His will to be done.”
Meanwhile, a pro-life mother has started a fashion brand called “Culture of Life.” She told an interviewer that she and her daughters have always had a passion for shopping. When they learned that many of their favorite clothing lines were supporting Planned Parenthood, she began her own brand.
(For a list of more than forty fashion designers who support Planned Parenthood, see this Forbes article.)
“Not knowing where he was going”
Courage is a consistent theme across Scripture in the lives of those used greatly by God.
Abraham obeyed God’s call to leave his home “not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Moses and Aaron risked their lives to stand before Pharaoh. David faced Goliath; Daniel faced a lions’ den; Peter and John faced the Sanhedrin with “boldness” (Acts 4:13); Paul faced persecution and multiple death threats across his missionary career.
Would we do the same today?
The hostility Christians face in our culture is especially daunting because it is so unrelenting. Every day’s news brings another story supporting abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and other unbiblical positions while demeaning Christians who disagree.
To stand firm every day, we need strength beyond our own. Consider two priorities that empower and encourage God’s people today.
The power of awe
Psychologists tell us that the emotion of awe plays a significant role in our health, happiness, and well-being. Experiences that make us “see ourselves as a small piece of something larger” can help us with physical health, stress, and personal relationships.
How can we experience the kind of personal communion with our Father that infuses us with courage?
David, the warrior king, prayed: “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy” (Psalm 61:2–3). He told the Lord, “I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night” (Psalm 63:6). As a result, he could say, “You have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy” (v. 7).
Jesus advised his disciples to “pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Luke 22:40). As soon as he submitted to his Father’s purpose, “there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43).
God will always give us his power to fulfill his purpose.
Luke Ditewig from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist in Boston observed: “I’ve come to see that silence offers the soul what punctuation offers language: a way to stop, demarcate, and define coherent thoughts. Learning how to listen in silence has helped me to punctuate my life, so that I can stand back and make meaning of so much action, input, and emotion.”
Jesus’ invitation to his first disciples is his invitation to us: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31 NIV).
This weekend, would you make time to be silent before your Father? Would you make a commitment during this Lenten season to make time every day for communion with Jesus?
“They had everything in common”
When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was surrounded by his disciples. In their company, Peter “struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear” (John 18:10). Later that night, when Peter was alone, he betrayed his Lord three times (Mark 14:66–72).
The first Christians “were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common” (Acts 4:32). Note what comes next: “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all” (v. 33).
We find courage in community. When others are standing for Jesus, it’s easier for us to stand for Jesus. John Wesley said he wanted “the whole Church for my fellowship and the whole world for my mission field.” The first empowers the second.
Who is encouraging you to stand for Jesus today?
Whom are you encouraging?
NOTE: In today’s chaotic culture, we are increasingly faced with faith-related questions that can be challenging and impossible to answer.
In this week’s video from our YouTube series, “Biblical Insight to Tough Questions,” we tackle the question: What does the Bible say about racism?
Thanks for turning to Denison Forum to discern news differently and build a movement of culture-changing Christians.
For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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Publication Date: March 8, 2019
Photo Courtesy: Getty Images/Emma McIntyre/Staff