You guys probably know this, but if not, I’ll tell you now. I’ve got a thing for courage. In fact, I wrote about it for 31 days.
I mean, I’m not always brave, in fact, I probably lack in courage pretty often. I can certainly tell more stories of my own wimpy behavior than I can of acting in bravery.
But I just have this thing in my heart that loves courage. I love brave people. I love brave moments.
Sometimes, if you want me to be real honest, I think things like a death-defying walk on a tight rope across a deep gorge is fake courage. I mean, it takes guts, but that guy isn’t changing the world. He’s not even changing someone’s life.
There’s a huge project I’m working on that I can’t tell you more about yet [but I will… don’t you worry] and I’m getting to talk to lots of people who are making REAL differences in the world. Not walking across tight ropes- but walking into strip clubs to bring hope to those employees. Not jumping out of planes, but jumping into the messy lives of other people and staying there because of love.
I think that stuff, loving when it is hard, going when it is uncomfortable, standing when you’d rather sit, is the definition of real courage.
. . . . .
Last week, as I was planning for a speaking event, I was reading through Revelation 21. [I teach out of Revelation a lot because I know everything about the Bible and I’m totally qualified to do that.] [Just kidding. I was verse plucking. Get serious- I’m not brave enough to teach Revelation. I’ll let Kay Arthur handle that.]
I got to Revelation 21:8, where it lists the characters who will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur [HAPPY TUESDAY!] and it took my breath away.
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars “”their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (NIV)
Wait. WHAT? The cowardly are listed with THE MURDERERS?
I sat there stunned for a few minutes. I kinda wanted to throw up. Being a wimp is this serious to the Lord? I prayed, whispering words to God that expressed my confusion and worry and regret and honest desire to be right with Him and do right by Him.
. . . . .
Saturday, as my friend Ellen and I sat at the Sonic in Jackson, Tennessee, on our way back to Nashville after a speaking event in Bolivar, I relayed this verse to her, how I came about it, and how it had shocked my system for the last few days.
And as we waited on our tater-tots and cherry limeades, we talked about whether we understand the Bible at all, whether we are even sure of what this religion asks of us, wondering if there are deep parts of our faith that we aren’t hearing and believing and acting out of.
I don’t know what this revelation from Revelation means to you. I don’t know what it means for me yet either. I just know that the Bible is true and this verse is true and I probably take Christianity too lightly.