Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Thursday, October 16, 2014

31 Days of Courage: When Courage Fails- The Sequel

Yesterday’s post highlighted what I consider the great antidote for the ailment of failed courage: 

God’s Grace. 

I pointed out what I believe with all my chicken heart: that grace trumps all.  The vaulted courage of the fully human Christ to endure the emotional, physical and spiritual agony of the rejection of the Cross is his banner across the ages.  Read it every day…it says “I have enough grace for your worst failures.”

There is something else, though, perhaps less regal but beautiful all the same that travels the pilgrim road as a companion of grace.

My children, born between 1993 and 1997 are the generation of the Toy Story movies.  The first film my firstborn ever saw was Toy Story 1.  After his introduction to that marvelous screen gem, he spent many a waking hour jumping off chairs with the expensive Buzz Lightyear laser gun his Grandma Smith bought him.  And as he “flew” through the air he would shout:

“To infinity, and beyond!”

If you’ve never seen the Toy Story movies, OMG for heaven’s sake get thee to the DVD store!

In Toy Story 1, Buzz Lightyear comes on the scene as a new toy for the boy Andy, who has spent much of his short life with Woody, a cowboy toy with a friendly face who sounds suspiciously like Tom Hanks.  Buzz believes he’s a true space superhero, and Woody feels like second fiddle when the souped up space ranger commands a generous portion of Andy’s attention. 

Conflicts arise, and without giving all the details, Buzz winds up learning he’s not a real space hero at all, but just a toy. Worst of all, Buzz finds out he can’t really fly.

 And here’s the point: Buzz loses heart, in a big way.  His sense of purpose, his joy, and his identity are devastated.  Until.

Until Woody, who has his own character growth spurt, becomes Buzz’s ENCOURAGER.  See that word!  That’s my take on the 2nd antidote to the failure of courage.  Encouragement. 

I want more than anything to be an encourager.  This broken down world needs a whole lot more Woody’s to get the Buzz’s flying high again.  Even if their flying is only just “falling, with style.”
What a privilege to help someone find their courage.  How I repent of the times I’ve sapped people of theirs’ with words unwise. 

And how little it takes to encourage someone!  A joke for the bus driver, a verbal pat on the back for a child while they battle through long division, a coffee delivered to a desk for a tired co-worker.  Try looking for something small today you can do to give somebody else on this runaway merry go round a lick of courage.  There is no dearth of folks who need some strength.

Sometimes there is no human encourager.  There is only God.  And it is then we must dig deep and believe that powerful word of truth from the real Star Command:

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17


It will take us and our struggling fellow pilgrims…

To infinity…and beyond!

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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