I find myself in a place in desperate need of courage. A place where the well paved road I have been walking ends, and tomorrow opens up to what appears to be little more than a scratchy dirt path. A few scuffs of unbecoming grassy patches. An uneven spread of gravel that’s uncomfortable to walk on. Nothing well defined or beckoning. When you’ve run for so long, it can feel strange to be walking. What does one do when the old is gone, but the new is not yet? This is a place where the greatest challenge is not necessarily the challenges themselves, but the choice to face them fully alive. The choice of continuing to offer all of who I am, even to that which is unknown.
There are seasons we mark victoriously with our confidence. Days when we mount up unwavering against the challenges. This confidence carries us magnificently, as if in itself it can supersede our actual abilities, enabling us to do whatever we are confident about. But there are days that confidence eludes us, and storms that it cannot ride. We find ourselves in need of something greater – courage.
Courage is the quality we hold to when confidence escapes us. While confidence is based upon total belief that we can, courage remains steady even when we can’t. For it is not a case of whether you can or you can’t; courage is whether you do or you don’t. Courage not only positions us for victory, but enables us to face defeat. It is our ally in failure and success. It can sustain us when confidence evades us.
In the end it is our courage that makes us great, for all of us will at some stage face that which is beyond our ability, and greater than our confidence – storms which we cannot seem to mount. That is the time for courage. Courage is not cockiness that presumes itself to be greater than its opponent. Courage is the rod of iron that is built into a man’s soul, giving him a greater strength than that needed to overcome, and that is the strength needed to fall and not be crushed, struck down but not destroyed. Courage stems from a deeply planted trust that though battles may be lost, the war is won. Courage carries a fearsome hope that looks beyond the temporary. Courage sees.
I find myself in a place in need of this courage that sees. A place where I have lost my sight. A place where discomfort can be temporarily blinding. A place where the seasons change, roads bend, and empty spaces before me intimidate instead of welcome. But courage sees highways where there are but faded paths. Courage lives today with the eyes of tomorrow. And if I can see, then I can walk. And if I can walk, then soon I can run, till one day I find myself on well paved roads again.