Into the Fire

When ordinary people face hardship with inexplicable confidence and bravery

Posted in , Oct 23, 2014

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Why do some people have courage in the midst of great difficulty or danger while others do not? On 9/11 when people were going down the stairways of the World Trade Center away from the flames, New York fire fighters were going up into the fire.

It didn’t make sense. It went against human reason, even instincts. Yet these brave fire fighters moved forward with their courage and in doing so, saved thousands. Mark Twain wrote, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.”

Courage is quality of mind that enables one to face danger with self-possession or confidence and bravery, as defined by American Heritage Dictionary. Though, courage is not just for first responders or soldiers on the front line. It is an inner strength within all of us.

I have seen ordinary people face the hardships of life with inexplicable confidence and bravery.  

I recall doing a pastoral visit to a woman in her mid-forties who was fighting cancer at a hospital in New York. The doctors informed Rose that there wasn’t much they could do. The cancer had spread throughout her body. Rose never gave up. The outcome wasn’t what she had hoped for, but the battle was not lost for lack of courage.

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I mentored a young man who was in the challenge program sponsored by the National Guard for troubled youth. This six-month program was militant in nature and philosophy. I learned that many youths who had signed up were one-by-one leaving the program voluntarily before its completion. 

I asked my mentee, “What keeps you from leaving and walking away?” He said, “I want to be somebody… I want to change my life.” He had the desire to make a better life for himself and more importantly possessed the courage to see it through.

We are all challenged. During my trials, I find encouragement in the quote, “Courage is feeling the fear and going forward anyway.” And I find strength in the words to Joshua in the Bible, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God, will be with you wherever you go.”

Think about those moments when life has challenged you to be courageous? What kept you going? If needed, are you spiritually ready to run into the fires of adversity?

Here's a prayerLord, grant us courage to move forward in spite of our fears.

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