After looking at the Day 2 devotional of my new book, I know the journey I’m embarking on will be assisted by this book. In fact, the temptation is going to be reading and writing about more than one section at a time. Or even writing and posting on Saturdays and Sundays when I usually don’t do so. I’m going to resist though. Taking these sections one at a time will be the best way for me to make this journey, and I also know reading them only five at a time will make the journey longer than 100 days. But, it will be worth it to see what God is going to do in my life.
How does the title relate to the devotion? The devotion asks the question “Why be brave?”, and my title is the answer to that question. Does that mean I’m brave all the time? Not by a long shot. I’m sure most of us would have the same answer to that question. There have been many examples in history though where things were accomplished because someone was brave, and because they were brave, things were changed in countries, in professions, and for people of different races and genders. Have you ever imagined what might have been in the minds of Rosa Parks or Susan B. Anthony before they embarked on their history changing endeavors? What about the first female doctor or female astronaut? They changed history, and they couldn’t have done it without being brave.
Part of me wants to be brave by thinking about the actions of those individuals, and that is the point of today’s devotion. The author talks about how seeing others be brave is a “domino effect” for our own bravery. But, then, I think again about how those individuals changed history, and say to myself, ‘Those people changed history. There’s no way I can ever do that.’
Then, my thoughts travel closer to home. Yesterday, I talked to a sweet friend who usually goes on a mission trip every summer. I was thinking that maybe I might want to go on that same mission trip, but knew it would have to be when my kids were done with college. (Because, as we all know, college is expensive.) This lady has a younger family so I asked how she managed it. She told me she ended up raising her own support every year, and that once her girls were old enough, she and her husband would be raising support for all four of them to go. Wow! Raising their own support. That means asking other people for money and believing in what you’re doing strongly enough to ask. In other words, being brave. This precious friend has being brave down to a science. I also know others who ask for support for their chosen ministries. I admire all of them and wish I could support each ministry abundantly. They are all doing good work.
So, why do I think I would have a problem raising my own support for a mission trip like the one my friend is going on? There are two reasons, and only one of them involves being brave. The first is the independent philosophy most people in the United States were raised with. I was taught if you wanted to do something, you’d better darn well have the money to pay for it yourself. If you had to ask for money for any reason, there was an element of shame involved, and you’d better keep it to yourself. You can see this today in how people feel about poorer people and the government programs in place to help them.
But, this is totally opposite of all the non-profit ministries and charities that are out there as well as all the people who are asking for support for one thing or the other. Shouldn’t all of these organizations and people feel ashamed too? My guess is no because of the existence of such websites as GoFundMe.com and YouCaring.com. Their existence tells me that the element of shame about asking for money has started to disappear.
The second reason, of course, involves being brave. I have a hard time thinking that people would think supporting me for something like a mission trip would be worth it. I believe this even though I did a Facebook fundraiser for my birthday which met its goal. I wondered why, but then thought maybe it was because I believed in the cause wholeheartedly. Whoa, maybe that’s the way to be brave in the financial realm.
There are other ways of being brave besides being brave in the financial realm. There is being brave when God is calling you to do something even if you’re the first one to do it. 2 Timothy 1:8-9 makes a point of this. “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace.” God makes us brave when we ask Him for strength for what He wants us to do.
And finally, God can make us brave as we share things in our own lives. Things that might be a result of sin or illnesses that are not shameful though people in the church might think they are. Jesus calls us to love each other and not make each other feel ashamed. That is why it’s necessary to be brave. That is why I need to be brave so I can inspire others to do the same. If we can all be brave, God will change us for the better!
Praying God’s blessings on you all today!