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Devotional

Stepping Out in Courage

by HEIDI J. SMITH COURAGE Culture adjustment Reliance Identity in Christ
Stepping Out in Courage
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Psalms 56:3-4

The sun scorched my family's arms and faces as we watched the truck lower the motor boat into the dark water. Along the shore, bugs swarmed around piles of dried fish, and barefooted children ran and played. Women chatted in the foreign language while balancing baskets filled with fish on their heads. 


As my family and I stepped into the boat, my friend cautioned us, "If you fall out of the boat, try to remain as still as possible."  


"Why?" my daughter asked. 


"So the hippos and alligators don't get you! I will circle around and scoop you up,” he replied. 


My daughter stared at me with big eyes and whispered, "I'm scared. Do we have to go?" 


Have you ever been scared of something?  


Maybe you are afraid of not being accepted, raising your kids overseas, confronting someone, getting bit by a poisonous snake, teaching a Bible study, or… 


Fear paralyzes you as you imagine the worst-case scenarios and miss out on opportunities. You desire to step forward, but how? 


"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4 


We learn to place our trust in the Lord instead of our circumstances by meditating on God’s Word. As we saturate ourselves with Scripture, it pours out as praise (“whose word I praise”) and calms our fears. The Lord even gave us 365 “fear nots” in the bible–one for each day of the year.  


Faith propels us to step forward and try new things. Even if the situation doesn’t go as planned, God promises to walk with us every step of the way.  


What do you need to step out and try? 


My family and I rode the boat down the Zambezi River, and we remember it as one of our favorite memories. Because fear didn’t stop us, we had a wonderful experience and saw monkeys, elephants, hippos, and an alligator sunning itself along the shore.  


In our lives, we can stay safely on the shore or step out in courage and trust the Lord. One causes us to miss blessings, while the other allows us to experience them. 


Closing Prayer
Lord, thank you that you are my strong tower. Sometimes my fear paralyzes me and I don’t want to follow you, but help me to trust you. Help me to mediate on your Word and believe what it says. Please take my fears and replace it with peace so that I can step out in courage. Amen. 
Resources
Song: Fear Is a Liar by Zach Williams This song is helpful because fears bind us from moving forward.
Book: Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot This book shares the testimonies of five global workers who didn’t live by fear and what God did through them.
Book: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand This biography of Louis Zamperini records how he found courage for each trial and eventually forgave his enemy when Jesus forgave him.
Question for Reflection

1. What are you afraid of? What is it keeping you from? 2. How are you combating fear?

Comments
Heidi J. Smith
October 07, 2021

1. When my family and I moved to the mission field, I was afraid of poisonous snakes. We packed anti-venom medicine and bitter bulbs to spread around the outside of our house. I didn’t even let my kids play outside for a while.

My husband challenged me that if God called us He would help us. He encouraged me to let our kids be kids and play outside. It was hard for me at first, but finally I trusted the Lord and let our kids play outside.

I was also afraid of not being accepted by the local women. I struggled with the language and didn’t know all the cultural greetings and traditions. Not to mention, I can’t sing and dance like them. They are so blessed musically!

It kept me from attending and participating in certain events, until the Lord convicted me. If he called me, he would enable me, but I had to trust in Him and not my ability.

2. I started memorizing verses and reciting them when I exercised. (I would walk several miles and take my verses on notecards.). I prayed specifically for faith and not fear. I remembered previous answers to prayer.


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