March 26, 2011
... Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9b
From the cowardly lion of The Wizard of Oz on down, people want courage.
They want the kind of courage George Smith had. Let me explain: Smith was a daring test pilot for jets in the 1950s, right about the time when the sound barrier was first being broken.
Everybody knew George Smith could face anything -- at least he had been able to face anything. That all changed the day he had to bail out of a jet going 805 miles per hour.
Now Smith survived the crash, but he did so with some scars ... mental scars. You see, from that day on Smith found he had developed a terrible fear of flying. The idea of getting in the cockpit of another plane was enough to make him break out in a cold sweat.
Not surprisingly, Smith started visiting physicians and counselors as he looked for help, but nothing worked. Nothing worked until a hospital nurse gave him something to think about. She said, "Courage is knowing the worst and discovering that -- when Jesus is with you -- the very worst the world can dish out can't hurt you -- not really or permanently."
Smith took her words to heart and got back to the business of living his life.
You and I ought to follow that nurse's advice. After all, those words aren't just for test pilots who have survived a crash. They're for people like us.
I'd be surprised to find any Daily Devotional reader who has been fear-free all his or her life. A child may be afraid of monsters lurking in the closet or under the bed; an adult may be afraid of losing a job or paying a bill.
We all have our fears and on our own we can't do much to make them go away. But, for those whose lives are lived in the love of the Lord, in the company of the Savior and with the power of the Holy Spirit, they know the world's worst can't hurt them.
The same Savior, who died and rose to grant us forgiveness and eternal life according to God's promise, remains at our side. There He is protecting us, caring for us and desiring to lift us up when we have crashed.
Now I don't know what you will do with that invitation, but I invite you to join me in knowing the world's worst can't hurt.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Trinity, You are our Creator, Deliverer, Protector. Please grant us the kind of courage that relies on You and can stand against the world. This we pray in the Name of the Lord Jesus who lives and is with us. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries