Couragous vs. Fearless

 

I think for a long time I viewed being courageous and fearless as one in the same. Maybe you have or do too. But, I have come to realize they are not, and they shouldn't be. Both of these ideas can have a distinct role in the way we view God and live out our faith. 

When we take courage as fearlessness we find suppression risking trust, intimacy & growth. I am a master of suppression. You scared? Nope. Worried? Definitely not. Ultimately I do this saying it's because I trust the Lord. But is it? Or is it my pride? Or is it actually the very fear I claim I don't have? 

Courage has been defined, and debated by countless people for centuries from Plato, Socrates, to today in my own heart. Courage has largely been defined as the "mental or moral strength to venture, persevere , and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty" or to act despite fear. If those are the traditional definitions, then why would I even think it was fearlessness? Though these are the technical definitions the ones society paints(or the way I perceived them) often look like the valiant, maybe even a little stoic, warrior who ran into battle without a second thought and returned with no tears. Today I am reminded what courage is:

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." - Nelson Mandela

“There is no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bear witness that a man has the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”- Viktor Frankl

These two men faced many fears; Nelson Mandela countless social injustices and persecution, and Frankl survived the holocaust. So as Frankl a man acquainted with immense suffering and facing our darkest fears claims courage can be seen through the lens of tears, I believe it. Another man of great sorrow, one acquainted with grief, displays the greatest example of courage to ever exist. 

Christ weeping in the Garden, taken by fear to the point of sweating blood, crying out in the darkness for another way is our greatest example of courage. It wasn't pretty, buttoned up and shiny; it was raw and ugly(you know when your face looks like its made of wax melting as you sob kind of ugly?). Not the face of bravery I would of painted growing up. 

Christ weeping in the Garden, taken by fear to the point of sweating blood, crying out in the darkness for another way is our greatest example of courage.

Christ in that Garden felt every fear, doubt, or pain you have bore or will ever bear. He felt it. He was scared. Trembling. Weeping. He feared what was ahead, and was terrified of his separation from the Father for the first time in eternity that was coming. "Yet, not my will, but yours be done"

Jesus was no stranger to fear, he knew it better than we will ever. Yet, he acted despite the fears. Why? Because, he acted in love, and trust in his Father. Our Father.  

If Christ was not fearless, nor should we aspire to be. We have found something greater than fearlessness, we found the ability to be courageous. To live courageously is to live in trust and contentment of the Lord not our circumstances, no matter how uncertain or scary. Our hope is found in the love that conquers fear. May we see fear. Feel suffering. Tremble. Weep. May we not be paralyzed by fear, but propelled to Christ who feared so we can trust.