Courage, bravery or faith?

Last night my wife, grandson and I had the special treat of going out to dinner with my sister and my brother-in-law.  On the way in to the restaurant, Jack asked how my chemotherapy was going and how I was doing.  I explained with the chemo that the side effects usually drag on in one way or another for 10 days or so and that since this was day 11 I was feeling pretty good and since with Thanksgiving it also meant 10 more days before my next chemo I was feeling excited and extremely good.

A little later in the conversation, he said something to the effect, “You are showing a lot of courage in battling your cancer.”


My answer was something like this, “No courage here, I’m just walking through what I have no choice but to walk through.  There are no options.”

“Well, I couldn’t do it.”

“Oh, if you had asked me if I could do it before faced with it I would have said, ‘No way.’  In fact, the week before my surgery I knew I could not go through colon surgery again … the memories of the last surgery were too painful.”

So what exactly is courage?  WordWeb defines courage (sorry about another definition Corban) as a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without fear. (FYI – bravery has the exact same definition).

Once I had visited the dictionary, I went to the Bible (I know … I got my order backwards).

There are 10 occurrences of the phrase ‘Be strong and courageous’ in the Bible … all Old Testament references.  Here is my favorite …

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

Interestingly enough, there is no reference to the word courageous in the New Testament … so I took a back-door approach and searched on the phrase “do not be afraid” … and found a dozen references.

And you know what the justification given for a lack of fear was in every passage …


Thank you Lord!  Fear and doubt seek to undermine faith … and often succeed.  As believers, any courage or bravery we exhibit is grounded in the belief and trust that Jesus is with us, that He will fight our dangers, that he will carry us through the pain and suffering!

(BTW – the “do not be afraid” phrase appears many times in the OT as well … why? Because God is with you.)

So the next time (if indeed, there is a next time) someone complements me on courage, my response will be a little bit different …

“Courage … no, what you see is my faith and trust IN Christ Jesus and that faith enables me to face danger and/or pain without fear.”

Thanks for the lesson Lord … I needed that.



About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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4 Responses to Courage, bravery or faith?

  1. Amazing words. Changes my way of thinking about courage. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

    • bwebbjr says:

      As so often happens when I write, the conclusion I arrive at is often different than where I thought I was journeying too. And that is indeed a good thing. May the Lord be glorified!

      Thanks for the comment!

      May you and yours have an extremely blessed season of Thanksgiving IN Christ Jesus!


  2. Dave Stokely says:

    Really really nice Bernie. . .It is such a blessing reading your words.

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