Courage, Opposition, Fear

Scripture Resource Passage: Nehemiah 4

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            The Bible has construction reports? Yes, including a construction report with spiritual values which calls for lioness-like determination. 

            Hopefully, your personal fear-level is completely unlike the City of Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah. Their fearfully begun construction project required courage as well as cooperation.

            Yet, there is more. The armed-ready-to-kill-you-opposition plots sabotage (Nehemiah 4). 

            To all these things God appears to say ‘Be courageous, physically alert and spiritually strong for your adversary does indeed know your address!’

            To the people who share the labor of rebuilding Jerusalem Nehemiah might have invoked a powerful analogy: ‘Have the tenacity of one of God’s great untamed cats. Be like the lioness on the hunt! Show courage!’

            Classically defined, courage is the ability to continue moving forward in spite of extreme danger. Does Nehemiah’s story have anything for us?

            In matters of the heart Nehemiah’s story asks for a commitment from each generation. Captured in one sentence: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,  but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (emphasis added). The words may sound like an inspirational phrase from Nehemiah; actually the words are from an Apostle of the Church (2 Timothy 1:7).

            A significant part of Nehemiah’s story is the inner conviction and the soul-strength to fulfill the dream of enhancing Jerusalem. Indeed, Nehemiah is not timid while demonstrating tenacity and muscular strength similar to that of God’s great cats.

            When the lioness chases prey there will be a precise moment when she aggressively extends a paw and four claws launch from sheaths. The dew-claw engages as the hooks grab and hold. Tenacity has her reward. 

            She does so, our lioness, while running at full speed over rough terrain avoiding hooves launched with the intention of tearing off her head. An amazing sight to behold.

            Is it courage or hunger? A good allotment of each, we suppose. Hunger drives her—courage is her way forward. 

            Tenacity, timing and many attempts increases the success rate of a lioness.  As a solo hunter she is typically below 20%. When the lioness has a hunting companion, their success rate moves above 30%. Repeatedly, in the company of others, she stealthily seeks her goal. How like Nehemiah she is—determined to succeed.  

Life Applications:

  • Does God still call people to projects which require profound amounts of courage and tenacity?
  • Does God call you?

Published by Andrew Simkins

Dr. Andrew Simkins provides spiritual direction for individuals and small groups through the regular blog posts found on this site. He resides in northwest Indiana with his beloved, along with nearby children and grandchildren who are the adornment of his life.

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