COURAGE by Harold Sala

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When it comes to courage, you cannot chart it. You cannot put it on a line graph. You cannot measure its specific density. When it is displayed, a person is a hero, and when it is missing, a person is called a coward.

Eddie Rickenbacker was a man who knew something of courage. In World War I, he was responsible for downing 26 planes. Rickenbacker said, “Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared.”

Someone defined courage saying, “Courage is fear that has prayed.” Certainly, courage involves action. One of our heroes of medicine is Dr. Werner Forssmann. In 1929, Forssmann, age 25, was a medical student. He was tantalized by the fact that it was impossible to treat certain heart conditions, because in those days, doctors knew practically nothing about the inside of the human heart. People constantly died, condemned to their deaths, because doctors knew so little about the heart.

Forssmann had an idea. He thought his idea might be the answer, so he went to his professors and shared his proposal with them. They were horrified, and expressly forbade his experiment. He was convinced, however, that he was right, and he had the courage to become his own guinea pig. He cut a vein and worked a tiny rubber tube up his arm to his shoulder, and then down to his heart. Then, he walked into the X ray room and X rayed himself, to be sure the tube had arrived in his heart.

That bold act was the beginning of cardiac catheterization a technique that has enabled surgeons to X ray the heart, measure vessels in the heart and correct defects. Forssmann demonstrated that courage involves action.

In the realm of the spiritual, just as certainly, courage is action. Look at Abraham, who left Ur of the Chaldees with only the promise that God would lead him. Courage is what Elijah had when he stormed into the presence of the king and said, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1).

Courage is what Daniel had when he went into his home, threw back the windows, and prayed three times a day, even though the king had passed a law forbidding prayer. Courage is what Jonah had when he walked into Nineveh, a city of perhaps half a million people, and announced that God would destroy the city in 40 days.

Whether it is medicine, history, or Scripture, people who have accomplished something have been individuals who were courageous, who acted in the face of danger and accomplished what they did not even dare to think.

If ever an hour has come when courage was needed, that hour is upon us. Men and women today must find courage to speak their convictions, to stand for that what is right, to abide by principles, rather than expediency. I must say, however, that individuals who are courageous often pay a price for their courage. It would be a fool who says that courage does not cost, but real courage does not consider the cost. It considers only the rightness of the action that must be taken.

Where do you get courage? Is there a prescription for it? Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31). Paul, like any man who stands courageously for a cause, was troubled, yet he could say, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8 9). Paul could, and so can you, as you thank God and take courage.

Scripture Reading: Acts 26

Text: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8 9

GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – February 23, 2017