Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Courage

Originally, C was for compassion.  But after I started getting my ducks in a row for writing in the challenge, a different word, actually a part of three different words started rumbling around in my head so much that I couldn't write about the word compassion anymore, although I do have it in mind for a different letter later on.

The next three days of the blogging challenge will all center around the word courage and the sneak peek for the letters D and E are (drumroll please):  discourage and encourage.

I've had an eye-opening encounter with God as I've delved into the depths of these three words and bringing some application to myself and possibly to anyone who may be surfing over this blog this month.

So let's start.

Courage means, according to Merriam and Webster:  

the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous; mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

Courageous means:  very brave, having or showing courage.

Courage does not mean:  chicken, coward, cowardly, gutless, lily-livered, spineless, and my favorite, yellow.

The NIV translation of the Bible used courage to describe a handful of Hebrew words.  But the one which most intrigues me is the word Hazaq which means -

to be strong, hard, harsh, severe; to harden; to give strength, repair, encourage; to grasp, seize, hold; to make repairs; to establish oneself firmly; to encourage, to rally strength.

 Among other things which intrigue about this word is the different words that are translated from Hazaq, a mere 290 times total, words like:


repaired
made repairs
strengthen
strength
strengthened
strengthens
repair
caught
take
took hold
strong
lay hold
hardened
severe
stronger
encourage
firmly
hard
gripped
powerful
seize
armed
embraced
established
fasten
fight bravely
grabbed
held 
help
urged
cling
caulk
devote
equipped
fortified
gave power
victorious
unswerving
triumphed 
support
maintain
preserve

So it's interesting isn't it?  I find it interesting anyway.  I wrote about courage in a blog titled Take Courage you can find here, and since I wrote it almost two years ago it still is a word which ruminates and rumbles as I imagine the Lord Jesus handing me a bushel or a basket or a peck of courage when I need it.

The interesting thing I found this time around is how physical the word courage really is when it's used in the Bible.  When Nehemiah and the returning exiles were rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem they had courage in their hand right along with the tools they were using. (Nehemiah 3:4, 7, 8, 10, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32). When Moses told Joshua to be strong and courageous as he led the children of Israel into the promised land it took physical courage to put one foot in front of the other as he led hundreds of thousands of people into a land promised centuries before. (Deuteronomy 31:6, 7, 23; Joshua 1:6,7,9, 18).

Sometime courage is strength. (Genesis 31:6)  Sometimes courage repairs damages done.  Sometimes courage fights. (Joshua 10:25).   Sometimes courage hardens a heart for evil (Exodus 10:20, 27; 11:10, 14:8) and sometimes courage hardens to bring victory and justice. (Joshua 11:20)

Courage dresses in integrity, (1 Kings 2:2-3) showing itself strong has it takes a position of leadership appointed by God.

Following God and His decrees takes Hazaq.  (Joshua 23:6).

Sometimes courage has to be taken hold of when faced with trying, dangerous tasks.  (Exodus 4:4; 1 Samuel 15:27)

Sometimes hazaq clings to fear.  (1 Kings 1:50; 2:28)

Sometimes hazaq holds on tightly to instruction.  (Proverbs 4:13)

And then, more miraculously then anything, hazaq takes hold of me.  (Isaiah 41:13; 42:6)

I have more questions than answers now, do you?  I have my headlamp on, my pick in hand, ready to mine God's word even more.  I will find treasure, but I have the feeling that as I bring my buckets of dirt and soot to the surface and sift it through the nets of God's truth, my questions will reveal more  hidden treasure, spurring me on to more and more digging and mining and ruminating and searching.

I hope and pray the same for you.  I pray you find peace with God.  The God who gives the courage, who is the Courage we long for.  He has the courage you need to face what needs facing.  You simply need to ask. There's enough for every need, every time, all the time.  He doesn't run out.  May you run with courage as you face the paths that lie ahead of you.  One foot at a time.  One peck of courage at a time.  Just "take courage."

C is for Courage.

Peace,
Ronda

Thoughts to chew on:
1.  What synonym for courage stuck out to you?
2.  What will you use to give yourself a physical picture of taking courage?
3.  Where do you need the most courage today?




9 comments:

  1. I've never thought of courage in a physical way. Today I feel I need perseverance to finish a project I've been lagging on. Really like the image of the bushel of courage. So glad that you stopped by Buttercup's.

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  2. This was an intriguing look at courage. One of my favorite scriptural phrases, often used to imply 'have courage', is 'gird up your loins', which always gives me the mental picture of someone pulling their long tunic hem up from the back, between their legs, to tuck into the front of their belt, making a sort of pair of shorts, and preventing their long tunic hem from flapping around and catching on things, allowing them to be able to move more freely and without constraint. Maybe I have the wrong mental picture, though. Maybe 'gird up your loins' is more along the lines of 'pull up your big-girl panties and carry on'. In any case, 'gird up your loins' has always meant 'be brave and strong' to me. Courage is something we need more of, and it's so good to know that it can be ours for the asking. Thank you for a wonderful post!

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    1. I think the physical aspect is what is the most intriguing - it takes courage to gird up your loins. It's much easier to say, "I'm wearing a dress, sorry I can't help," than get the extra fabric out of the way so you can do the job needing to be done. Great picture for me, thanks for stopping by and sharing it.

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  3. hello Ronda! Thanks for coming by my blog. I love finding other believers in the blogosphere! And I like to stay connected. New follower here. :- ) You are quite the scholar of words. Compassion and courage are GREAT C words. Three letters in, and we're doing great with the challenge. By the letter S, we might be pooped. :-)

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  4. Visiting from A/Z. I enjoyed reading about courage and all the information you shared about it. I always like when it is mentioned in the Bible for us to be strong and courageous. I think the synonym that stuck with me was strong; I picture someone with muscles for having courage and probably where I need the most courage today is just with routine day to day things, concerns about money, jobs, etc. Good luck with the rest of the challenge!

    betty

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  5. Hi, Rhonda! I'm visiting from A to Z and I love this post. "Repaired" is the word that stuck with me. I've been through a lot in my life. At one point I was broken or at least that is the way I felt. It took time, strength, and a lot of will to repair what I felt was broken. I look back now and how courageous I feel that I was able repair myself and become the person I am now! :) Awesome post!

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  6. I just realized I added an "h" in your name. My apologies... I have a friend with the same name and hers has an h in it. It was habit. :)

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    1. You're not the first to drop an H and you won't be the last! Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

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