A few years ago, we took a family vacation to the beach. My daughter, just five at the time, spent most of her time far away from the water. When she did move closer toward the ocean, it was always with her hand fastened in mine. She would stand a few inches from the breaking waves using her big toe to write her name in the sand. My gentle coaxing did little to ignite her dormant adventurous spark until two of her friends, along with their mother, decided to swim out to a sandbar about 20 feet away.
“Where did that island come from, Mommy?” she asked.
“The sea level dropped in that spot and our friends are going to investigate. It won’t be there for long . . . would you like to check it out?”
“Um . . . I don’t think so . . . wait . . . you’ll go with me, right?”
“Of course,” I replied.
“Well, okay then. I trust you . . . so . . . yes . . . yes, I’m going to go for it,” she squealed with delight and tightened her grip.
Her bravado waned when the waves thrashed against her waist. Sensing her fear, I picked her up, rested her against my hip, and reassured her with words of comfort.
“I won’t make you keep going if you don’t want to go, but if you still want to explore the island, I promise to hold you tight. I’ll keep you safe and make sure your head does not go under water. What would you like to do?”
Pressing her forehead against mine she smiled then panted, “I’m going to be brave. Let’s do this together.”
Her feet danced before reaching the sand as we stepped onto the island. Exhilaration exuded as she gleefully jumped up and down exclaiming, “I did it!”
My daughter learned some lessons about true courage that day. While I permitted her to enjoy the glory of her accomplishment, I knew that her newly garnered courage did not come from believing in herself. In fact, if that were the case, she would have demonstrated a reckless foolishness and rushed into the water unassisted.
Instead, she realized her limits and placed her little life into the arms of someone reliable. Someone whom she knew would never sacrifice her safety.
By providing my daughter security as we ventured to the sand bar, I also subtly instilled in her a fundamental element of courage . . . trust.
Sometimes trust comes easily. My daughter’s willingness to venture to the sandbar in the face of fear was inspired by her wanting to explore with her friends. Trusting me made it easier to do something that she wanted to do in the first place.
Often, trusting God means doing things that I’m hesitant to do because living in this crazy, misguided world requires courage nearly every waking minute.
Taking a stand for truth requires courage.
Stepping over the invisible line that marks our zones of comfort requires courage.
Obedience to God’s calling requires courage.
Trusting God and responding with reverence means taking the emphasis off of myself, focusing on Him, tightly grabbing His hand and saying, “I’m going to be brave. Let’s do this together.”
True courage is not blind or brash. Courage comes from believing that the ultimate outcome will be good.
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“The Lord will hand over to you the people who live there, and you must deal with them as I have commanded you. So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, ‘Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land.’” Deuteronomy 31:5-7 NLT
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
What a beautiful true story that so captures what God wants for us…for us to put our full trust in Him, climb into His safe arms and trust Him with the outcome. “I’m going to be brave. Let’s do this together.” – I’ve written those words in my “emergency kit” of scriptures and life encouragements because it captures what I want to be in my life and whose help I need. Thank you for a wonderfully encouraging post this morning.
Blessings to you and your sweet daughter,
I love the idea of an “emergency Kit” of scriptures! Thank you for your sweet comment, Bev.
Jenni DeWitt says
Sometimes I think God gives us children so we can somehow grasp the enormity of His unfailing love and protection. When my son and I were swimming in the ocean this summer, it was shark week so we’d watched a few episodes. As we headed out to swim, I asked him, “Aren’t you afraid, since we just watched that shark show?” He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “No Mom, you’re here. I know I’m safe.” At the time it made me a little nervous, because I was pretty sure I was no match for sharks. But with your help, now I can see that memory as an example of trust and courage. Thank you for that.
What a sweet boy you have! And I agree that God can teach us so many lessons through children … our own and the children of others.
Through the years of parenting I didn’t realize how much I needed to be needed. Now they are all grown and I see how HE helped me through all the rough seas. Now all four are trusting HIM the way I do. HE loves me, oh how HE loves me and you. 🙂
Kim j says
Just as your child leaped into your arms, God wants us to leap into all that He has for us. Some leaps are bigger than others, and scary indeed, but knowing that He never leaves or forsakes us makes that leap not as scary. He longs to hold us as we bravely obey Him.
I needed to read these words as I have had some difficulties that make me fearful. I must be trusting that my Father will always hold me in His arms and keep me from succumbing to fear and discouragement. Children are always a good gauge of how we can relate to our heavenly Father and I sense that becoming simple and trusting is the key to growth in my spiritual journey.
I do so love how our Father sends just the right message at just the right time. This year has begun a new journey into a much deeper relationship with Him. Just like traveling out to the island, this journey is sometimes very scary. But I’m learning even more about His Presence and His faithfulness. I wept through reading the whole thing. I wept because I recognized myself in your daughter. I wept because I have heard similar words from my granddaughter to me. So I can just begin to imagine how His heart must swell with love and compassion when we tuck our heads on His strong shoulders and head out into the waves. Thanks so much for this picture which so describes my life these days. I just love to have visual reminders of just how wonderful He is!
Knowing how much our Father delights in his children … it does heal the soul. Thank you for sharing. Praying for you tonight as you continue your journey.
Beth Williams says
Great story. “Often, trusting God means doing things that I’m hesitant to do because living in this crazy, misguided world requires courage nearly every waking minute.” I find it hard at times to trust God completely. My tendency is to want to know the outcome or fix it quickly. But here and now I will trust God completely with my life and my job situation.
True courage is not blind or brash. Courage comes from believing that the ultimate outcome will be good. This year my hubby almost lost his job. While working a different shift and back at hospital he found another job he thought he wanted. I believed and prayed that this new job would be what he wanted. Fortunately it was and is. It took courage for my hubby to apply and go on the interview.
Jennifer Studio JRU says
oh yes, this… “obedience to God’s calling requires courage”. i am tightly grabbing His hand! love this story, angela!
I loved this. How are you old friend?!
what a verse to pair with the story! makes me really wonder what is in store for today! thanks
Sarah H says
“Stepping over the invisible line that marks our zones of comfort requires courage.” Yes, I need that. I’ve been thinking about that quite a lot recently. And it’s OK to fail…my motto in life…I’m learning to savour life one baby step at a time.
Gillian M says
I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and, though I know and love the Lord, I life each day in fear. I’m so exhausted.
Thank you for this poignant reminder that Jesus is our strength. X
“Obedience to God’s calling requires courage”. This is so true. Obeying God can be filled with no much that is unknown and it requires trust and courage to heed His voice and follow Him.
Being someone who lives with fear and anxiety, it can be hard to muster courage. The story has encouraged me that I can do it with Christ.