Warning…if you haven’t watched Prince Caspian yet you might want to skip the first paragraph or so. Although, if you’ve read the books you know how it all sorts out in the end…
I’ve been mulling over this post since yesterday afternoon, and I have sat here writing and re-writing. It’s not working. My head is full of ideas about courage and what it means but to actually put it into words escapes me. The image that keeps coming back to me is one from the movie ‘Prince Caspian’. The Telmarine army has just experienced a turning in the battle and is retreating to the bridge at Beruna. As they approach the bridge, this army of fierce warriors, mounted, fully armored and armed is confronted by something unexpected. A young girl (Lucy) steps onto the bridge at the other end. Alone. She stands there, facing their horses, their power, their weaponry and then she gives a slight smile and draws a small dagger. She stands there alone, smiling. The captain looks around at his men, and when he turns back to the bridge he sees Aslan walking up beside Lucy.
What I read into this scene is based on Lucy’s meeting with Aslan slightly earlier in the movie, I’ll let the clip speak for itself:
“I wish I was braver” is Lucy’s comment. I do not think that Lucy knew what Aslan’s plan was. I think that all she knew is that it was her job to walk out on that bridge, her job to face down the army of Telmarines. And because she trusted Aslan she did it, trusting that somehow he would step in, brave in the face of not knowing how or when he would do it. What a contrast to earlier in the movie when plans failed miserably because of taking the reigns and the plan into their own hands instead of being content to wait for what Aslan had planned.
When I left my job to stay home with the boys I did it because of the sense that God was calling me to trust. Financially it made about as much sense as staring down an army while holding only a dagger. But we stepped out in faith and as we stood on the bridge God stepped up and provided in a way that still amazes me. It would not have happened if I had not already had the courage to take that first step, if I had not already trusted God to provide when he calls.
Since then I’ve found myself wondering what happened to that courage. Yesterday in church the guest speaker challenged us to consider the question, “Why are you here?” The answer, of course, is that we are here to be missional, to spread the news of a God who loves the whole world. Maybe to your neighbor next door, maybe to the barista at the coffee shop, maybe to a people who have never heard the name of Jesus. And this is where my courage fails. I am afraid to step onto that bridge of connecting with those around me, of entering into dialogue with them for fear that I will be laughed at, scorned, shown to be an idiot. I forget that God waits, waits for me to take that step so that he can come alongside me. It will never be my little dagger that defeats the sin that binds humanity. The voice is mine; the words will be God’s.
I want to be faithful. I want to be willing enough to establish connections with people even when I don’t know why. I want to be strong enough to extend love even when it may be thrown back in my face. I want the courage to speak God’s name when I don’t know how it will be received. I want to be braver.