When I see someone being brave or read about their courage, I love it. When I face a situation where I have to be brave, I loath it. Why? Because to be truly brave, I must be truly afraid.
Fear and bravery are two sides to the same coin. One cannot exist without the other.
Fear feels terrible. A stomach that drops down the Grand Canyon. Hands that feel cold and clammy like a sponge that has been sitting in the sink for a few hours. Sweaty armpits that smell unnaturally pungent. Uncertainty that feels like a coffin I can’t get out of. The possibility of losing something we value looms like a skyscraper casting its massive shadow over us.
But, it seems as though it pleases God to put us in situations where we are afraid. How do I know? Because “do not be afraid”, “be brave”, or something like it, is said around 365 times in the Bible - once for every day of the year. I also know because it seems that God has put me there many times recently and I don’t get the sense that He is disappointed in what I am experiencing.
Maybe He wants us to grow, wants us to know what bravery is, maybe He wants us to know what trusting completely feels like. I don’t know what His specific reason is, but it does seem to be important to Him even if I don’t like it.
It’s okay to be afraid. It’s good to be brave. It’s okay to feel sad when you face something requiring bravery. It’s okay to wish that you didn’t have to be brave, to wish that things were easier. He won’t leave you to face it alone. He will walk with you each and every time you need to be brave.
“Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will also help you,
I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
- Isaiah 41:10