Wild Words . . . Photos & Fine Art

Co-creating by heart with sandy cathcart through writers helps and art info, focusing on all things wild.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Meaning of Life—Courage Revisited

Today I’m taking a brief break to revisit the subject of courage and the meaning of life in terms of being a Christian writer and/or artist.

My novel Skookum is now on the desks of the editors who requested it. I’ve also asked my agent to mail it to the one editor who requested it by e-mail from him. It’s out of my hands now. I must wait on the Lord.

But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing!

“He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope (wait) in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wing like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV)

Boy! Did I ever need those words.

I will wait on the Lord, through prayer, through praise, and by spending time with Him.

But that’s not all! There’s more:

”I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners, I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you
And have not rejected you.
So do not fear,
For I am with you;
Do not be dismayed,
For I am your God;
I will strengthen you
And help you;
I will uphold you
with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:9-10 (NIV)

What a wonderful promise! I have 1-9-04 (OCW) written in the margin beside it. And I remember the promise back then when I felt I had gotten in over my head with leading the Oregon Christian Writers Conference and choosing a new campus and planning a huge event with Francine Rivers . . . but God was true to His promise . . . even though I was afraid back then; I was dismayed.

Am I afraid now?
Am I dismayed?

**Fear: Loss of courage; intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety (dread).

**(Dismay: To cause to lose courage or resolution; implies that one is disconcerted and at a loss as to how to deal with something; sudden loss of courage or resolution from alarm or fear; sudden disappointment.

Yet God says, “Do not fear . . . do not be dismayed.”

According to Webster, courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty. Synonyms: mettle, spirit, resolution, tenacity.

**Mettle: Suggests an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience.

**Spirit: Also suggests a quality of temperament enabling one to hold one’s own or keep up one’s moral when opposed or threatened.

**Resolution: Stresses firm determination to achieve one’s ends (like the pioneer women).

**Tenacity: Adds to resolution implications of stubborn persistence and unwillingness to admit defeat.

We all know people like that, and sometimes we’ve had these qualities ourselves, but what if we don’t right now! How do we get them?

The cool thing about being a follower of Christ is that I don’t have to rely on my own courage, my own mettle, spirit, or tenacity. God has it all. I simply need to rely on Him.

I do that by making a choice—determining.

Using the Word of God and strong universal witness as my authority, I settle and decide by choice of alternatives or possibilities to fix the form, position and character beforehand…that is, I set boundaries and scope…and through careful investigation, reasoning, and calculation, I come to the decision—making my choice to place my trust in God.

That is true faith…not based on some willy nilly out of my imagination, but based on evidence of things hoped for.

Yet, I am not left alone in coming to this conclusion—making this choice.

The Holy Spirit who lives in me, empowers me each step of the way. And He will do the same for each of us who place our faith in Christ.

Given all the facts, it takes more work to fear than it does to trust.

So why do I fear?

Because I allow other voices to drown out the truth. Instead of careful investigation, rumors and lies hit me from every side. If I don’t take the time needed for restoration, dismay is the first to take control. It comes suddenly, without warning, and leaves me disconcerted and confused.

Courage soon flees, leaving me with no firmness of mind, in the midst of a great battle with no fixed boundaries or plan.

Even then, while running screaming from the enemy, I can choose to run straight into the Father’s arms, allowing His strength, His courage, His Spirit to lift me high above the maddening horde and set my feet on Solid Rock once again.

King David took time to write. He was a wonderful writer! He also took time to praise God and to wait. He never simply rushed into a battle. Even when the battle was similar to the last one, he took time to ask God for direction.

If a king in charge of nation can do that, then surely I can too! After all, it is the same Spirit of God who lives in us both.

And what about you? Who are you waiting on today? An agent? An editor? The next big sale? Or the Creator of all things good?


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