In recent weeks I have felt a strong association with Jeremiah and his response to God’s call upon his life. He said, (Jeremiah 1:6) “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”
To which God replies (Jeremiah 1:7), “Do not say ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.”
He doesn’t leave it there but encourages Jeremiah to have courage saying “Do not be afraid” and He promises to be with Jeremiah.
It’s a similar story to how Gideon responds when God selects him as the man for the moment. Gideon 6:14-16
Lord: …”Go in the strength you have…”
Gideon: “But Lord, how can I…?”
Lord: “I will be with you…”
I have found myself translating those responses into my life. God asks something of me and I respond with “Yes” and then, “I can’t! I can’t! I can’t! I do not know how to.”
Off the back of saying “Yes”, as I start to try to answer the “But how can I…?” question in my own head, anxiety overwhelms me. Anxiety clouds over God and shuts Him out. Through the mist, I hear God encouraging me to have courage.
Where is courage found?
Courage is found in the command “Go in the strength that you have…”. He is saying to go with what you’ve got and do your best.
Courage is found in God’s reply, “I am with you.”
Courage is found in the friends who come beside you and say and pray “You can do it”.
Courage is found in the promise that “No one whose hope is in you (GOD) will ever be put to shame”. (Psalm 25:3)
Courage is found in the knowledge that God hears and answers prayer. (Psalm 21:2 + 4)
Courage is found in the determination to be steadfast. (Psalm 57:7)
Courage is found in not listening to fear and remembering God’s protection. (Psalm 3:2-3)
Courage is found in looking to God alone.
Courage is found in remembering that God asked you to do it.
Courage is found in recognising that God gives you the ability to do what He asks and that is a gift.
Courage is found in the knowledge that a gift is to be enjoyed.
Courage is found in keeping the right perspective on our purpose and existence. (Psalm 73:23-26)
Courage is found when we stop doubting, recognise anxiety as sin, repent and trust instead.
So next week when I play Handel, The Bach Double and an Aria from St Matthew\’s Passion having not performed in such a context for 15 years, I do it for God alone with the courage He has taught me. I am no longer a child. I will go with the strength I have, believing that He is with me and that He will speak to people’s hearts through the music.
I will go out with joy and be led forth and peace…(Isaiah 55:12)