I’m sitting at my desk, thinking about this chapter.
Thoughts and questions flood my mind. The young man I’m thinking about lived a colourful and intriguing life. Although he was cut short in his prime his life was a challenge to say the least.
When his life was cut short in his prime his best friend had these honest words to say:
“…the bow of Jonathan did not turn back…”
“…Jonathan was slain in your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
You have been very pleasant to me
Your love to me was wonderful…”
2 Samuel 1:22;25-26
As questions continue to flood my mind; one question seems to ring louder than the rest: ‘how do you define courage?’
I’m hungry and desperate for an answer…but for now, all I get is more questions. Questions such as:
--Does courage mean getting or having it all together?
--Can a person be described as courageous if he/she knew what to do, when to do it and had the guts no matter what it takes?
I find it difficult to define courage; I seem to have no answer to my question. The dictionary does little to satisfy my curiosity.
But as I look into the life of this young man Jonathan, Prince of Israel, I think I understand. Now I know, or at least I have a faint idea of what courage is all about.
The enemy had taken up position. Now it was the time for war. The finest army in the entire region gathered against Israel. In their possession were the best equipments modern technology had to offer.
On the contrary, the army of Israel could only boast of two swords; Saul king of Israel held one and the other was in the hands of Noble prince Jonathan.
Whilst both armies prepared for a stand off, Jonathan quietly whispers to his armour bearer:
“…Come let us go over to the philistines garrison that is on the other side…” 1 Sam. 14:1
Now I’m beginning to understand what courage is all about.
Courage is taking responsibility for your generation
Jonathan could have sat down in the barracks. It wasn’t his personal battle. But there was something within him. I’m talking of the tingling, the restlessness of purpose and calling. It’s in us.
We can’t sit down and do nothing about racism, tribalism and other forms of segregation.
We can’t sit down and do nothing about the corruption in society; especially Christian folks like me who live in the so-called third world.
We can’t sit down and ignore the moral decay: perversion, prostitution, drug abuse that plagues our society.
No! We are called to make an impact.
God is searching for young folks, who may not have a plan yet, but they’ve got a longing within them to do something.
The parable of the Good Samaritan sets up an interesting scenario. The man who was mobbed lay on the ground beaten, bruised and bleeding. Three men walked along his route. Two walked by and did nothing. These guys were not just church folks; they were leaders; a Priest and a Levite.
Jonathan wasn’t too sure of what to do. But he couldn’t just look back and walk pass a wounded generation under the siege of the enemy. No! He had to do something. Just like Jonathan did, my friends do something. If all you can do is whisper a prayer then whisper all you can. That’s s a start.
Courage is taking a step
Jonathan walks over to the other side. He’s unsure of too much. The noble and valiant prince of Israel is unsure of his next step; but he takes the first step.
I choose to believe that the spirit of God was stirring within his heart. I also choose to believe that the wild dream in your heart may be a stirring of the spirit. For now, don’t ask the Lord: ’how can these things be”. Just believe.
Back to our story; Jonathan takes the step, he walks over to the other side. Do you believe in the power of “the one”? Do you believe that one step, taken by one person could make a difference?
One step was all Jonathan needed to take, for an entire generation to walk into the victory God had pre-destined for them.
One step may be all you need to take. One more prayer may be all you need to pray. One seed may be all you need to sow. One word from you may be all that God uses to heal a broken heart. One touch may be all that God need to point a child’s heart to the direction of redemption.
One touch, one naira, one dollar …in the hands of God, it’s hard to predict the possibilities. I can’t do everything but I’ll do the one that is my part.
Jonathan took one step.
Courage is taking a step when the odds are against you:
The philistine army outnumbered the army of Israel. But two young men were crossing over to the other side to face the enemy.
The enemy was more equipped but because these two lads knew they had to do what they had to do they crossed over.
Although the odds were against them, God was with them.
Thus Jonathan stepped out in faith and said to the young man who bore his armour:
“Come let us go over to the garrison of theses uncircumcised; it may be that the lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the lord from saving by few or by many”
1 Samuel 14:6
Against all odds, nothing restrains the Lord from doing His thing. This reveals another Side of courage: putting your trust in God’s power to deliver. He knew the limitations of man’s ability to deliver; thus he trusted in God completely for deliverance.
Life will bring challenges your way and some of them will seem overwhelming. But where your strength stops and begins to fade, God’s strength is only about to be made manifest. Thus take the step and believe against all odds.
Once upon a time I was scared stiff of taking a step. But a young man gave me a word I’ll never forget: “dance like no one is watching.” I love those words. Thus I’ll close my eyes. Let the evening breeze cares my face as I dance to the rhythm of heaven. Heaven’s agenda is all that counts. If heaven says I can then I’ll dance to that tune. I’ll dance like my lifer depends on it. I’ll dance like no one is watching.
Courage is not being afraid to labour in obscurity.
Jonathan and his armour bearer went into the camp of the enemy under the cloak of obscurity. They went into the camp unannounced and told no one.
“…but he did not tell his father.” 1 Samuel 14:1
“…but the people did not know that Jonathan had gone…” 1 Samuel 14:3
Folks love to hype fame and fortune. Success is exciting; everyone loves to be associated with it.
But God builds his man or woman in the obscure planet of the unknown. There he shapes us in private so that we can influence for the kingdom in public. The Father knows that we must change before our world changes.
No one knew that Jonathan and his armour bearer had stepped out from mediocrity into greatness. However, in that obscurity God was building his two giants.
Courage is empowering those around you.
“Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armour…” 1 Samuel 14:6
Jonathan wouldn’t go alone: there was room in his heart for somebody else. He empowered the young lad at his side by giving him an opportunity to join him on the walk to greatness. He was not intimidated by the young boy’s would be success because if the young boy took a leap to the next level they both took the leap.
The siege is over; the darkness and gloom are lifted from the nation.
Now the nation can enjoy the spoils of war.
The victory dance has begun and the drum beats rage on.
Mmmmh! The sweet smell of victory, an entire generation free because one man decided to step out and do whatever little he could.
I remember the words the armour bearer spoke to Jonathan:
“Do all that is in your heart. Go then according to your heart.” 1 Samuel 14:7
Will you do all that’s in your heart?
A generation’s salvation may depend on it.
Do all that is in your heart.
My sisters do what’s in your heart. My brothers do what’s in your heart. Maybe that’s why God sent me your way. Perhaps that’s the message of this book. Do what’s in your heart; together we’ll enjoy the spoils of war.
Victory, believe me tastes so sweet.
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