Courage, Dear Heart
We must not bow our knee to terror, Church. If we cower, if we give in to fear, then terror is winning. Jesus speaks to this thing many times in scripture. He constantly says "Don't be afraid." Fear was a real thing in his day. A soul never knew from day to day what Rome was gonna do. Fear was just how they kept their iron grip on the world. Rome invented crucifixion for the purpose of tormenting the victim until the very last breath, and they crucified people daily. Israel was familiar with fear.
Jesus chose the cross as his way of sacrifice. He could have chosen any form of death. Ever thought about that? I know, it's a bit morbid, but it needs to be considered...
Jesus chose crucifixion.
Could it be that he chose this path because it was the most feared by the people? Could it be that he chose this path because it took the most courage? I am going to say yes. Jesus chose the cross because he came to defeat not just death, but the fear of it.
He came to defeat fear.
Fear had an iron grip on me for many years. It was part of my everyday. I funneled everything through the screaming voice of fear. I worried, I was overly cautious, I was withdrawn. I never went against the grain.
Now, I find myself living constantly against the grain. Jesus drew me out, away from fear. He enticed me with words of deep devotion and love. He proved over and over how strong he is, how my weakness doesn't matter in light of him. He convinced me not to be afraid. I look at the cross and I see so much. I see redemption, rescue, love, worth...
and, I see courage.
I see that sacrificial love takes great amounts of courage..and that it is possible to love selflessly, sacrificially, dangerously. Rome went into a frenzied panic when followers of Jesus started defying death. They didn't know what to do with these people who didn't fear dying anymore. What does evil do with a people that doesn't fear?
It looses, Church. That's what it does.
In Narnia, Lucy struggles constantly to believe she can defeat all the evil in Narnia. Asland whispers to her, "Courage, dear heart." I am Lucy, through and through. I fear I am not big enough, strong enough, or good enough to conquer evil, but I, too, hear Asland whispering to my soul...
"Courage, dear heart."
Every generation of Jesus' Bride has faced a defining moment. I believe this war on terror is our defining moment, Church. I believe this is our hour, to stand on the side of the weak and hopeless.
Will we say to the least of these, "come," knowing we invite danger into our midst, or will we turn our face away?
It's hard, I know. But, we can be brave because Jesus is on our side. Jesus is on our side. It is our moment, Church, to be the warrior Bride of Jesus. Darkness presses in on all sides, and we must choose where we will stand. God allows his Church to face the fire because it is in the fire that the true heart of the believer is revealed. What is our heart, Church? What is it we war against? We are called to courage, and Jesus knows courage. He has faced the darkest darkness...
and he has conquered it.
Narnia waits for us, Church, to defend it, to fight for it, to take it back from the hands of darkness. Asland is among us, and waits for us on the other side of this war. Our flesh is weak, but he is strong. We must not fear the darkness, but we must pick up the sword of truth and we must fight the way Jesus fought. When we stumble, when we fear, we can stop, and lean in to the voice of Asland, speaking to us just as he did to Queen Lucy, the Valiant...
"Courage, dear heart."