Bravery: just showing up

The Biblical idea of bravery usually conjures up visions of exalted heroes after a solemn victory.  The battle of David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17 is a perfect example.  Artists throughout the years have created paintings and sculptures of a very small David displaying a very large Goliath head, freshly removed of coarse. But these brief episodes of grandeur are just occasional outcomes of bravery.  The story behind those defining moments begin with a simple act of every day bravery:  just showing up.

I highly doubt that David rose that morning thinking it would be a good day to kill a giant.  Rather, he just shows up.  His father, Jesse, asked that he take supplies to the older sons involved in a battle with the Philistines.  The obedient David complies and discovers the Philistine giant, Goliath, taunting the Israelite army with his words.  No one would engage Goliath in his challenge:  a single showdown of Israel’s greatest warrior verse Goliath to determine the outcome of the battle.  Israel had no one to send.

When David shows up to camp, hears the challenge and speaks to the Israelite King, Saul.  David is the only person stepping forward to fight – the only person willing to show up on the field of battle.  He does not do this with out thought.  David shares with Saul that he has killed many a large beast in protection of his sheep (David is a shepherd boy).  And David enters the battle exalting his faith in God’s presence. The outcome of this match up is a dead giant, but that definition of bravery is misleading because it assumes the result of bravery is total victory and dissolution of the enemy.

 Everyday, accessible bravery is just showing up and knowing what you know.  What we know is that we may fail.  What we know is that we may get hurt.  What we know is that we are vulnerable.  I would imagine that David, being human, was aware of all these things too. But just showing up is essential because if we waited until we were bulletproof to take on any conflict or challenge in our lives, we would never show.

Sometimes the goal is not a dead giant, rather the goal is just to be brave.

Bravery is just showing up and knowing what you know.  As Christians we have faith that God goes before us, with us and behind us.  With that knowledge, sometimes we slay giants but most of the time we just show up.

Be Brave my friends, The Pondering Prophet