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"Deborah the Courageous"

I saw "Deborah the Courageous" on a church sign last night, announcing Sunday's sermon. The word "courage" has been coming to me a lot this week. The biblical Deborah was a very courageous woman. During a time of male dominance, she was a leader of God's people. Referring to her as a judge, the Bible tells how she led the nation's army into war against their oppressors and won. That takes a lot of courage.

The sermon last Sunday at my church was also about courage. There is an organization called International Justice Mission. Mark Wallenberg, new director for IJM in Canada, spoke to us. The purpose of IJM is to rescue present-day slaves (I think I heard him say there are an estimated 80 million slaves in the world today), provide after-care to help them re-enter freedom, prosecute the slave owners and others who are complicit, and to encourage nations to adjust their justice systems so that slavery will be unable to flourish.

They do this by sending under-cover operatives into places of slavery, posing as customers, with hidden cameras and voice recorders to get hard evidence for the eventual court cases. When they have the proof they need, they enlist the assistance of local police and raid the place, arresting the perpetrators and rescuing the victims. Lawyers work with the local justice system to bring the current laws of the country to bear on those arrested. It's a dangerous job and requires much courage.

Wallenberg encouraged us to pray for the courage to fight injustice, inviting those who felt called to courage to stand and those around them would pray. I stood. I will likely never be part of a sting operation to free slaves, but there is injustice all around us. I remember seeing a crowd of boys beating up on someone on a busy street corner. I didn't stop, but I should have, and have wished since that I had. Given the location of my church, I'm likely to encounter other examples of injustice. What will I do? Give in to fear and ignore it or trust God to help me confront it? I hope the latter.

At small group on Tuesday, I asked for prayer about my book launch. I've never planned and organized an event like this before and I'm doing it alone (with people to assist but no one able to direct). I want the launch to be God-honouring and for the right people (whoever they may be) to attend. Will there be only five attending or will the 200 chairs I've asked for be filled and overflowing? I have no idea. Will I be able to face those in attendance and share parts of my story? The one who prayed for me asked God to give me courage.

The writing, publishing and promoting of Searching for Love has been one of the scariest things I've ever done. I need a lot of courage to keep taking the next step and moving forward as God directs me. Will I lose friends because of what I'm exposing about myself? Will I face anger, animosity and hostility from those who oppose my position on homosexuality? I don't know but the possibility is frightening.

I bought three books about IJM on Sunday, and finished reading the first in two days (it's very good!), so Wednesday I looked at which of the remaining two I would read next. The one I chose is called Just Courage: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian by Gary A. Haugen. There's that word "courage" again!

Dallas Willard is quoted by Haugen as saying:
"We don't believe something by merely saying we believe it, or even when we believe we believe it. We believe something when we act as if it were true."
To do that takes courage. It takes courage to behave as though God is my Protector and go into the dangerous places he calls me to, that he will take care of me financially even when I give generously, that I truly can entrust my children and husband to his care and direction without interference with me, that God is bigger than whatever problem I'm wrestling with and wait with patient expectation of what he will do, to go up to a stranger with the words or question God has given me for them or to turn the other cheek when someone is cruel.

Deborah the Courageous. My name is Deborah. Am I courageous? I want to be.

Comments

gilley said…
You are. You are one of the most courageous people in this world
Jeanie! How good to see you show up! Thank you for your comment, and now you have me crying. I've missed you.

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In My Prayer Room

Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
and teach me
encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.












You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.























You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.


















You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
song
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
and tell me
"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
and smoul…