The school where most of our youth group kids attend just had their annual Pantomime. We were so blessed to be able to help with the production. Schools are really closed off in France, so the opportunity to be able to be in the school is HUGE! This year the show was “The Wizard of Oz”. This is one of my favorite stories, mainly because I relate deeply to the story of the Lion. I am a wimp, and I feel as if I am often afraid of my own shadow. In fact, as I kid I ran out of a production of “The Wizard of Oz” because I was terrified. The Lion is also a self-declared coward, he appears tough, and initially scares Dorothy, but in reality, he is trembling. The Lion is the king of the forest, his resume alone makes him intimidating. But, he is crippled by fear, and his fear makes him believe that he is inadequate. My life on paper, much like the Lion’s, might look brave, but I don’t feel brave. I am scared out of my mind, I think a lot of us are.
When I first moved to France, my new French friends told me almost every day, “bon courage” (good courage). At first I thought that this was my new friends seeing straight through the brave face I was trying to wear (which is not saying a lot, at this point in my transition I was not faking bravery well), but I later learned that this was the phrase the French use instead of “good luck”. It has been one of the most encouraging things I have been told since I moved; courage.
Luck is something that is dependent on circumstances outside of our control. Some people are inherently lucky, and some unlucky. You, in theory, don’t have control over your luck. But your courage, that is something that is within you, something that you can harness and use, anyone can be courageous.
This is one of my favorite things about Jesus. In those moments when you feel helpless, unlucky, and lacking bravery, He equips us with courage. In Matthew 14, the disciples witness Jesus walking on the water. They are utterly terrified at this sight. But Jesus commands them, “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Take courage. Our courage comes from the Lord. In those moments when I am the most fearful, and like the Lion terrified to take a step further, I pray that I am reminded of this command, take courage.
What an opportunity I have, to be able to share the Gospel with kids in Grenoble, and I am currently standing in awe of how God is using me and my team here. For me, I saw a major shift in ministry when I transformed my thinking from one that required some luck to one that relied on courage from the Lord. Ministry doesn’t take luck, rather it requires courage. Every day, courage looks different. This week was: having courage in my ability to do stage makeup, courage in conversations I had with kids at youth group, and finally courage that God would meet, lead and direct us as we start ministry in Grenoble.
May we have courage as we are invited into the lives of kids, as we invite kids to camp, as we meet with people in the community, courage as we share the gospel in this dark country. No matter your story, or what you are doing, I pray that you may find courage. God has each of us where we are for a reason, so if nothing else, maybe we take courage in that knowledge. I don’t want luck, I want courage.