Garry spoke tonight on Christian bravery. Christians are often portrayed as wimps, followers of the ‘meek and mild’ Jesus who must always turn the other cheek, no matter what happens. Isaiah 43:1-2 reminds us, though, that God has promised to be with us in difficult times (symbolised by fire and flood) and in men like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who faced literal fire because of their faith in God, we see bravery beyond our wildest imagination.
Moses urged Joshua to be strong and couragous (Deut 31:1-6), a command reiterated after Moses’s death (see Josh 1). Courage is required of all Christians. It may not look like we expect it to; in 2 Chron 20, we see how God sent Israel into battle with musicians and singers leading the way! David, too, had to leave armour behind to defeat Goliath with a sling and a stone (1 Sam 17:32-40).
Bravery may well mean putting ourselves in harm’s way to protect others, as the Catholic pilgrim Henri Anselm did just last week in a playground in Annecy when a man went on the rampage, stabbing people, including children. The outcomes may not always look good for us, but we are led by a crucified Lord. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, paid the price for his courage as he was stoned to death (see Acts 7:51-58); others have faced jeers, flogging, chains and imprisonment (see Heb 11:36-38). Yet even if the outcome does not look positive to us, God has promised a reward to those who persevere under trial (James 1:12) and Rev 12:10-11 reminds us that we can still ultimately triumph by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. We need to be brave people who will stand for God’s truth, protected and equipped by the armour of God. (Eph 6:13)