Friday, March 31st- Courage

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Isaiah 43:1-2

But now thus says the Lord,
    he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.

The little dog was keeping his human companion company while the gentleman worked in his yard. As I walked along the fence, the dog ran along the other side, barking fiercely. I was very relieved to have that fence between us! This morning I approached the same house and the dog began barking again. But when I came closer, the little imp turned and ran to the front door- where he cowered! I believe he lost his courage because his human companion wasn’t out there with him.

As silly as that little dog seemed, I know that I am quite like him. I am much braver if I have someone with me. I never would have ridden a roller coaster if it wasn’t for my peer-pressuring friends. I am more comfortable entering a room full of people if someone accompanies me. I travel to new places less fearfully when Jim and I go together. Life’s journeys are less intimidating when we have companions with us on the way. Courage is found in company.

Friends in faith can “companion” one another even though we are apart. This is a true gift for us all. I know that I am braver, more secure when friends tell me, “I am praying for you.” We keep company with one another by our united love of Christ, by holding one another in our thoughts and prayers. When Jim and I were ill, many dear friends surrounded us with prayers and accompanied us with cards, meals and gifts. We couldn’t be together with them- but we felt totally loved and supported, never alone. We found strength and courage for each day through this wonderful companionship.

Best of all, we have this God who goes with us in every moment, every challenge, every fear we face. God told Isaiah, “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God” (Isaiah 41:10). God didn’t say, “Do not fear, I will be cheering you on from the sidelines.” I am with you. God knows that God’s presence will be enough for Isaiah. God’s presence is enough for each of us. Wherever life takes us, God will be there with us.

This earthly life is a rough and tumble time of joy and sorrow, peace and anxiety, smooth sailing and rough waters. We need God. We need one another. For our Lenten practice today, let’s consider our own courage and also how we might accompany others who need it. May our day be filled with prayers for courage- for ourselves, for one another, and for others we know who are facing trials and heartache. Remembering that we are never alone, that God is with us all the time, let’s lift up one another as mutual companions for this day. I am praying for you all.

~Are you going through a fearful, uncertain, difficult time? If so, know that today the rest of us are accompanying you in love, with our heartfelt prayers for strength, for stamina, for protection, for peace.

~Do you have a friend who needs courage for these days? How might you accompany him or her along this way? The rest of us will be praying for these unknown-yet-connected friends, too.

Our reminder symbol is an electric cord. May we remember that God is our constant source of power and strength. May it also remind us that we are forever connected to God, and to one another through faith and love.

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“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”   ~Mary Ann Radmacher

God, our constant companion,

I am so small. But you are infinite, mighty, awesome- and ever present. Help me to remember this when I am facing trials or fearful times. Give me courage for the way. Thank you for going with me! Help me to share your love with others who are fearful, and to find ways to accompany them through their difficulties, too. Amen.

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