“…as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.”
· Philippians 1:20 ·
Courage is not a trait that I frequently think about instilling in my children, but as the above verse mentions, courage is a trait we need in order to not be ashamed of Christ and to allow Him to be honored in our lives and our death.
Courage is a character trait that allows a person to stay the course in their Christian walk and face the battles of life. Preparing my children with the character they need to stay the course with God is my goal as a parent.
God recently reminded me of the importance of courage while I was listening to a news story of a courageous young man named Dylan. Dylan recounted his story, stating, “I never thought I would be attacked by a bear.”
But that is exactly what happened to this 19-year-old summer camp counselor at Glacier View Ranch in Ward, Colorado.
According to the local news station interview, Dylan awoke at 4 a.m. to a “crunching sound and a lot of pain…”–because the bear had Dylan’s head in its mouth and was dragging him across the ground!
Dylan continued his story: “I just started hitting the bear as hard as I could. And I found its eye, and I started poking it with my fingers…” After being dragged for 10 feet and fighting for his life, Dylan succeeded in freeing himself from the bear.
Dylan’s ability to remain calm and fight with courage in what I know was a beyond-frightening situation made such an impression on me. The news report didn’t reference this detail, but if you look closely you can see that the camp sign shows that Glacier View Ranch is a Christian Retreat and Conference Center. In his interview Dylan uses the word “lucky,” but I believe God’s provision and Dylan’s courage would better explain the miracle of Dylan walking away with only flesh wounds.
When I heard Dylan speak, my mind instantly thought of David in the Bible. David faced a bear and a lion with courageous strength and confidence to protect his father’s flock. The slaying of these animals gave David the confidence to face an over 9-foot-tall giant later in life. David, who was at this time described as a youth and was technically at the battle to deliver supplies because he was too young to join the forces, faced the giant with courage when all other men were afraid.
David knew without a doubt that he would prevail because he was fighting for God’s people. David explains to King Saul in 1 Samuel 17:37 that he had gained his confidence by victoriously fighting, with God’s help, in previous battles against a bear and a lion.
David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” and Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
· 1 Samuel 17:37 ·
Displaying the fullness of his courage in God, David didn’t back down when others told him he was unable, when the armor was way too big for him, or when the giant hurled insults to intimidate him. And God used David to conquer the Philistine giant and save His chosen people.
I don’t know what battles Dylan will face in the future, but I feel like whatever they are he will face them with courage. Courage that was gained by knowing God protected and empowered him to fight off a bear!
In Dylan’s story, courage saved his life from a bear attack. I have two older sons fairly close to Dylan’s age, and I wonder what would their response have been if they had been in Dylan’s situation.
Would they courageously fight knowing that God was with and for them?
Or would they allow fear and panic to overtake them and prevent them from having the clarity of mind to poke the bear in the eye?
Hopefully, my children will not need courage to fight off a bear or any other wild animal; however, I am sure that courage will be extremely useful when they face spiritual battles in their lives.
I want my children to have the courage to follow Christ in whatever He calls them to do.
I want my children to have the courage to care for those in need, even when it’s not the “cool” thing to do.
I want my children to have the courage to stand up for Christ and do what is right and fair, even if none of their friends make the same choice.
I want them to stay calm and fight with strength to stay the course God has planned for their lives when they face the lions, bears and giants of this world.
Because I desire these things for my children, I am going to be more purposeful in teaching them to have courage in our God. Here are some thoughts and ideas that I have on how to instill courage in my children:
- I am going to pray for God to develop the character trait of courage in my children.
- I am going to teach them about the courageous men and women in Scripture.
- I am going to point out when God allows one of our friends or family members to courageously fight and persevere through a difficult situation, so that my boys will learn through example how to take courage in our God.
- I am going to be more aware about giving my children words of affirmation when I notice them acting courageously–when I see them standing up for what is right, being a friend to someone who needs a friend, and caring more about what God wants them to do and less about what outside influences are telling them.
- I am going to make sure they hear stories of missionaries past and present who see the hard task before them and courageously make their choices.
- I am going to try to start being more courageous myself as an example.
I want my children to live courageously with confidence in our God and His power!
To view the local news report of Dylan’s story, click the link below: