The courage of others


This time of year stirs my heart to be thankful but it also compels me to be courageous like the ones who came before me.

The thought of starting a whole new life may sound exciting on a Monday if you don’t love your job or current situation.  Actually putting feet to it is a completely different thing!

The Israelites stood on the outskirts of the Promised Land (see Numbers 13).  They had dreamed of it, hoped for it and ached for it in their hearts.  But, when push came to shove, there were giants and gigantic obstacles that seemed insurmountable.  Of twelve leaders who spied out the land, Joshua and Caleb were the only two who believed they could do it.  The other ten spread bad reports among the people.  Ultimately, they were too afraid and stayed where they were.

Born into slavery in Maryland, Minty Ross dreamed of freedom.  She made up her mind that she would be free or die.  Some told her she wouldn’t/couldn’t make it, but she did.  After a miraculous journey alone, Minty arrived in Philadelphia.  She changed her name to Harriet Tubman and was determined to help others gain their freedom.  And she did!  In the movie Harriet, a preacher told her as she embarked on her journey, “Fear is your enemy.  Trust in God.”  And she did! 

Christians these days talk about “getting out of the boat” like Peter did in Matthew 14, but surely the most courageous thing in 1620 was getting ON THE BOAT!  Pilgrim men and women packing up all earthly goods and children-without electronics-to begin a new life took more guts than I can imagine!  A 66-day trip across the ocean?  Holy Moley! 

I want to be courageous like Joshua and Caleb, believing God CAN and WILL guide and protect!  I’m not Harriet, but I want to lead people to freedom-not to Canada, but the life-saving freedom that only Christ can give!  While I don’t want to don a Pilgrim dress or hat, I want to be a woman of courage putting my faith where my mouth is, facing giants like they did!   I want to boldly go where no man or woman has gone before, if that’s where God leads.

Hebrews 10:39 sounds like the marching orders for all these brave souls who came before me: “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”  May they be mine also!

Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at


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