Did I spell Brave with a capital G???
What if Elimilech ( meaning my God is King) and Naomi were doing what we talk about a lot in our modern form of Christianity…being brave and courageous?
What if they were ‘conquering the land, possessing the territory, extending their borders and choosing a new beginning’ for their suffering family?
What if he was stepping out in faith and out of the comfortable to find a better life? we know the end but Elimilech didn’t.
What if he was just trying to make a break, reposition, pull himself out of boring, mundane and took a gamble on an opportunity? It sounds brave and loving and generous to his family who were struggling in Bethlehem?
What about me? how often do I want to put on my brave and run away from what is hard to a place I think will be greener and better, only to discover that that too has it’s own share of grief and pain. Then I don’t feel brave but just disappointed….was it just brave or brazen???
Brave: it is a word being bandied around a lot of churches, preached about, written about and sung about. …are we really talking about brave….is brave something we muster up ourselves out of fear or difficulty to move our hearts away from ‘here’ ? Maybe what we think is brave is actually fear disguised.
Am I being brave as in the Joshua ‘be strong and courageous’ type of brave? if MY GOD IS KING is not in the equation?
Maybe there is a brave and then there is a Brave. Just like God with a little ‘g’ can be different to God with a big G so too maybe brave with a little ‘b’ is different to Brave with a big ‘B’..because brave with a big B is about who is with us not so much about where we are.
So yes, like Elimilech we can be brave but if it means doing what seems right at the cost of being right ..is it right??? Is it ok to do the wrong thing as long as we are being brave doing it..or is it wrong if it is brave without the GOD factor.
If Elimilech knew he was truly loved by the creator and had a complete trust in God, would he have made the same decision or a different one. We don’t know…which I like because it makes me think about the why behind my run away moment and my seeking opportunity far away from here
It can be brave and fearless to stay when it is hard as much as it can be brave to launch out into new beginnings and adventurous new opportunities. The question is not what is the bravest thing to do but rather ‘what is God asking me to do that requires me to be brave? ‘ Remain, , abide, stay can require Brave just as much as go, take, conquer….
Maybe Brave is about being fearless in the empty, the ordinary and the waiting times.
Maybe remaining is braver than going if we are simply seeking adventure or escape instead of our current reality.
Famine and brave can be hard to put together but maybe that is what brave with a capital G is about…
Brave can be just as much about doing right when things are hard as it is doing big and adventurous things beyond here.
What if conquering and possessing was about where I am not where I wish I could be. Maybe this hard place where there are Giants and cities (instead of greener grass) is right where I am meant to be. Maybe this hard place in this season of parenting, maybe this hard place in this season of my marriage, maybe this hard place in this season of my health, maybe this hard place of leading these people, is the Bravest place I need to be.
I remember when my kids were really little, how hard it was to get them to church on some Sundays when I had had little sleep, we had had visitors all day on Saturday and their routine needed sleep at 10 not vibrant church music. Add a restless night and Steve gone by 6am, leaving me to do single mum mode for the morning and it would have been easy to stay home…with all the seemingly right reasons…But I didn’t sign up for easy as a mum, but instead brave in the simple things that seem trivial are now paying off in other simple things that require me to choose hard not easy in my parenting.
When my kids are reminding me that other parents are choosing easy…it can be tempting to let these things go. How often does brave as a mum seem trivial and almost trite because others are out saving the world.
What if this man, ELIMILECH thought he was simply putting his family first but in fact he was removing them from the very place God had placed them but it just didn’t happen like he hoped it would…..maybe this is why JESUS talks about forsaking our family…because so often we make brave decisions that are on the interests of our family that ends up leading them to grief and trauma instead of provision and presence because in our brave decision we didn’t put the capital G in the equation…. Because maybe a story about Elimilech is a reminder that sometimes we have to make sure that putting family first is not at such a high price and that brave should always include a big G…The GOD factor…and the ‘my GOD is KING’ factor.
Does brave feel good…not really. Brave is so much more about staying true to what we believe and who we trust when it is tough…remaining when running away would feel so much better, staying the course, sticking to my values and convictions…..
Brave is not what others see but so much more about what they don’t. It is not about doing big and wonderful things…it is putting in place the things that seem insignificant.
Brave is so much more to me today about who is with me and not where I am….because even if He were to lead me to Moab or Egypt or any other place…If I know he called me there and he is king and he is leading me and his presence is with me…that brings the courage and faith I need to face whatever…Giants, Jerichos and judges leading us into famine… Brave requires a capital G. What does my ordinary day today need that requires my brave with a capital G…. Forgiveness? Conviction? Faith? Hope? Love? Endurance? Resistance? Service? Obedience? Trust? Prayer? Consistency? Remaining?