Strong and Courageous
By Jane L. Fryar
If you were a parent of children born before the 1960s, baby-proofing was probably not part of your vocabulary. Car seats had just been invented and parents had absolutely zero concern about their babies drowning in the toilet.
But as the decades went on, parents became more and more aware of potential safety hazards in their homes. Now, baby-proofing is something parents consider almost immediately after finding out they are expecting. There are nationwide companies that will come to your house to tell you exactly where danger is lurking.
Most parents, though, buy baby-proofing supplies at their local store and install them on their own. Cabinet locks? Check! Corner guards? Check! Furniture anchors? Check! Toilet lock? Check! This baby will definitely be safe!
It’s too bad baby-proofing can’t turn into “life-proofing.” Imagine how nice it would be to pick up a kit at the local big-box store, one designed to keep every facet of life safe. How nice would it be if a few locks, guards, and furniture tweaks could protect your entire existence!?
- You’ll be safe! No need to worry about your job being eliminated.
- You’ll be safe! No need to wonder whether or not your marriage will fall apart.
- You’ll be safe! No need to be anxious as the dollar signs multiply at the gas pump or grocery checkout counter.
No matter how protected you think you are, life can be tragically light on safety. Economic uncertainty has robbed the workplace of job security. A never-ending stream of social media has made protecting our children—and our own reputations—a full-time job. A myriad of external forces threatens to dissolve even the strongest marriage. Six little letters—C-A-N-C-E-R—can turn even the best life upside down. Safety is hard to come by these days.
It’s great to know, then, that safety is not something for which God’s people merely hope. We do not have to spend our days helplessly imagining what it would be like to be safe. God has already promised that we will be safe, that we can weather the worst storms of life. He protects us from the most dangerous threat of all—the dangers posed by our sin. Listen to this promise from Romans:
You also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. . . . For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:11, 14
With outstretched arms, arms spread out left to right on a rough-hewn, wooden cross, Jesus Christ gave his life up for you. In three mighty words, words that shook the halls of hell, Jesus declared: “It is finished” (John 19:30).
For Jesus, death did not and could not have the final word. When that stone was rolled away from the entrance of Christ’s tomb, the tomb was empty! Death will not and cannot have the final word in our lives either. God sent his Son to die and rise again so that he could say to each one of us, “You’re protected! You’re safe! You’re mine!” Listen to the words of Isaiah, words that belong to all who believe:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Like a mother lovingly watching over her baby, the Lord your God faithfully watches over you wherever you go. God was there with his people in the wilderness after the Exodus when he rescued them from slavery in Egypt. He was beside them as they entered the Promised Land and as they returned from exile in Babylon. God was there with his people after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, as they testified throughout the Roman Empire to the Good News of what Jesus had done.
And God is with you yet today, filling your heart and mind, day and night, with strength and courage. Listen to what he says to us:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
These truths forever change your world! You can be strong and courageous because you know that your Savior-God goes with you! You do not have to spend your days in fear or your nights in dismay. The Lord your God promises to keep you wherever you go. He goes with us to encourage, strengthen, protect, and comfort us!
Our strength and courage do not come from within us. Instead, they come from what God has already done for you. You can take on uncertainty in the workplace knowing that—no matter what happens—you’ll be safe! You can take on rocky times in your marriage, knowing that—despite the external pressures—you’ll be safe! You can raise your children in a tumultuous world, knowing that—no matter how bad it gets—you’ll be safe!
Being safe in God’s care does not mean that bad times will never come. You may face layoffs, letdowns, and less-than-perfect days. You may encounter pain, pressure, and panic. Yet these bad times do not negate God’s strength. He holds you tightly, safe in his care, even when bad things happen, especially when bad things happen. You can face them head-on with the strength and courage that come from your Savior, knowing that nothing can tear you away from his love—not in this life or the next.
Knowing the strength and courage Jesus gives, you can jump right into life’s struggles. Go ahead! Throw yourself fully into your relationships, your work, and your witness for the Lord— “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). You are now and will be always and forever safe in Jesus!
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2016
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is adapted from the Ministry Message written to be used with CTA’s Strong and Courageous line. The beautiful items in this line are perfect for your next women’s get-together or even as mailable pieces to encourage the women in your congregation while you’re apart.
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2020 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.