A pastor may mishandle a situation and hundreds, even thousands of people be seriously hurt at the emotional level.
My friend Bob Spence, who recently retired as sheriff, told of going on a call and finding a woman who had shot her husband. They rescued the wounded husband and he lived. When Bob arrived the woman was sitting on a chair in the kitchen, holding a pistol in one hand while clutching her preteen daughter on her lap. Bob talked with her for quite a while. He finally got the pistol from her. The distraught woman was sure Bob would not keep his word, and permit her to call someone to come and get her little girl. Bob handed her the phone and told her to take her time and call whomever, that he would wait until her girl was with someone to care for her. When the child was gone, Bob then had to cuff her and take her to jail. Later she received a ten year prison sentence for attempted murder. She’s been out now for some time, has earned a PhD, and now is employed helping emotionally and physically battered women. The ending of this story could have been so different.
It took a rare courage to talk with this woman with a pistol in her hand. Yet Bob had that kind of courage, courage with patience.
David ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of modern Israel, stated:
“Courage is a special kind of knowledge, the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared. From this knowledge comes an inner strength that inspires us to push on in the face of great difficulty. What can seem impossible is often possible with courage.”
Our image of a courageous person is usually of a John Wayne type leading the cavalry over the hill and rescuing the trapped foot soldiers, or David slinging the deadly stone at Goliath. Yet, courage can be, and often is, the quiet, life and death drama as told above. Sometimes, as pastor, it takes all the courage I can muster to simply make it to another marital brawl, another death bed scene at a humble home or the emergency room. To find the right manner in which to be courageous in these times demands an answer, a still, small whisper of just what to do, to say.
Beginning in Deuteronomy through Joshua, Joshua was encouraged seven times to be courageous. I take this oft repeated exhortation to courage to mean that Joshua, like all of us, need to be reminded that in order for God to intervene, we must face the enemy in whatever form, to do so even with trembling knees, but with courage in our heart. I chose Joshua 1:9 to represent my message to you and to me:
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God [is] with you wherever you go."
Copyright © 2015 Larry Lilly
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